Boy left in the forest for punishment has been found

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Now, four days later, despite the combined efforts of the police and volunteers, there is still no sign of the boy.

Like all small children—boys particularly—Yamato Tanooka’s naughtiness has driven his parents up a wall, but unlike most punishments involving small children, he was left in a dense, bear-infested woods for penance.

Yamato had been throwing stones at passing cars and people, and so his parents left him by the side of the road.

They drove back a few minutes later to pick him up but found him no longer there.

That was Saturday afternoon.

Now, four days later, despite the combined efforts of the police and volunteers, there is still no sign of the boy.

At first, when Yamato’s parents contacted the police to report their missing child, they said that they had lost him while they were foraging for plants.

Eventually, they admitted to their misdeed and told authorities what really happened.

“We have done an unforgivable thing to our child and we have caused a lot of trouble for everyone,” said Yamato’s father, Takayuki Tanooka. “I just hope he is safe.”

Boy left in the forest for punishment goes missing

Photo credit: ANN News

Now Japan’s military is offering their help to look for the missing boy.

“Seventy-five members of the Japanese Self-Defence Forces have joined 200 police and civilians beating their way through thick brush in the mountainous forest on Hokkaido island,” said a Daily Mail report.

According to Jiji news agency, a local hunter had seen fresh bear tracks in the area. Meanwhile, local people feared the boy didn’t survive the raid that had fallen Tuesday night.

People on social media, too, are vocal about what the parents had done.

“Whatever the result, this is parental neglect,” said one user. “It’s cold in the Hokkaido mountains, and I hear there are bears, too.”

“When I think of him being alone in the woods like that, my heart aches,” said another.”

Currently, Japanese news programs are offering hourly update on the situation.


According to Channel News Asia, the seven year-old-boy Yamato Tanooka has been found in a military base 5.5 kilometers from where he was last spotted last Saturday; he had taken shelter in a hut and had found a top from which to drink, but the boy was exhausted and starving when he was found.

After the boy’s discovery, his remorseful father faced the media and offered his apologies.

“My excessive act forced my son to have a painful time,” said Takayuki Tanooka. “I deeply apologise to people at his school, people in the rescue operation, and everybody for causing them trouble.”

According to AFP,  Tomohito Tamura, spokesman for police on the northern island of Hokkaido, said: “A Self-Defense Force official who was on a drill found a boy whose age appeared to be seven. There was no conspicuous external injury, and the boy introduced himself as Yamato Tanooka.”

Yamato Tanooka almost spent a week in the wilderness by himself, and although he appeared to be unscathed, he was sent to the hospital to be examined.

READ: The difference between child discipline and punishment

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