7-year-old Japanese Boy Abandoned by Parents in the Forest Found Alive and Well 5 Days Later

Parents of a seven-year-old boy, Yamato Tanooka, may face charges for negligence in Japan after abandoning him on a mountain road in a forest because he “was naughty.”

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Tanooka subsequently got lost in the woods and was only rescued after 5 days when he was found in military barracks near Shikabe in northern Hokkaido in Japan, just a few kilometres from where he was left.

BBC reports that Yamato’s parents initially claimed that the 7-year-old got lost but eventually admitted briefly abandoning him for being naughty.

His father has apologised to his son and rescuers, saying “we went too far”.

“My excessive act forced my son to have a painful time,” Takayuki Tanooka said in an emotional news briefing outside Hakodate hospital, where his son was taken for checks.

“I deeply apologise to people at his school, people in the rescue operation, and everybody for causing them trouble,” he said.

He also thanked the search teams, and said he had raised his son “full of love until now and I will continue to do so”.

Search teams including the Self-Defence Forces (SDF) had been combing the remote area, home to brown bears, for a week but found no trace of Yamato and hopes for his rescue began to fade.

Early on Friday however, at about 8:00am Japanese time (11:00pm GMT on Thursday), Yamato was found inside a building at the SDF base about 4km (2.5 miles) from where he was left.

The boy is said to have told rescuers that he “walked through the mountains” until he found the shelter. He was subsequently taken to hospital by a medical helicopter. Media outfits in Japan report that Tanooka was slightly dehydrated with minor scratches, but otherwise in good health.

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