A seven-year-old, Yamato Tanooka boy who went missing in bear-inhabited forests in Hokkaido northern Japan after his parents apparently abandoned him as punishment, has been found alive, The Guardian reports.
The report said that Yamato was found by chance by military personnel in a hut on one of its exercise areas 5km from where he is believed to have gone missing and had sustained only cuts.
Dr. Yoshiyuki Sakai, the doctor who examined Yamato said: “He was incredibly calm considering he had been missing for seven days. He didn’t panic at all”.
According to a Self Defence Force (SDF) soldier who is familiar with the building but wasn’t there when they found him, the boy was “curled up” on a mattress and not visibly injured. The soldiers gave him rice balls and bread when he said he was hungry and thirsty.
Local media said the boy told police he had walked to the hut inside the military area and taken shelter there on Saturday night, the day he went missing. It was also reported that while he had no food, it appears he did have access to water as there was a tap inside the hut.
Yamato was said to have disappeared on May 28th after his parents left him on the side of a mountain road in the woods of Nanae, home to wild bears. It was punishment for throwing stones at passing cars and people. When his parents returned for him, the boy was gone.
The parents originally told authorities on that Yamato disappeared while picking wild vegetables with his family.
After being reunited with his son, Yamato’s father Takayuki Tanooka, said: “The first thing I did was apologise to him for causing such an awful memory for him. The first thing I said to him was that I was really sorry. He nodded and said OK, like he understood”.