HUFFINGTON POST

7-Year-Old Japanese Boy Abandoned In Forest As Punishment Found Alive

Yamato Tanooka was discovered about 4.5 miles from where he was last seen.

Yamato Tanooka turned up on Friday morning at a Self-Defense Force training facility in Shikabe, Hokkaido, according to the Japan Times. That's about 4.5 miles from where he was last seen. 

The boy was discovered sitting on a mattress inside a building in an area used for military exercises, according to Kyodo News.

The BBC said the second-grader was in relatively good health. He was given food and water, then taken to a hospital by helicopter.  No other details were released. 

Japanese military vehicles assist in the search for 7-year-old Yamato Tanooka.
Japanese military vehicles assist in the search for 7-year-old Yamato Tanooka.

The boy's parents said Yamato had been throwing rocks at cars and people during a family trip to a park. On the way home, as punishment, they told him to get out of the car. 

They drove about 550 yards, then returned -- but he was gone. 

Although his parents initially claimed the boy had wandered off while the family was foraging for vegetables, they later admitted to leaving him as punishment. 

I couldn’t bring myself to say it was to discipline him... and then ask the police to search for him,” said the boy’s father, 44-year-old Takayuki Tanooka, according to UPI.

The place where the boy was abandoned is known for its Ussuri brown bears, also called black grizzly bears.

Not many people or cars pass by, and it gets totally dark as there are no lights,” Mitsuru Wakayama, a spokesman for the town of Nanae, told the Japan Times. “It’s not surprising to encounter bears anywhere in the area.”

As many as 180 police, soldiers and volunteers searched the forest for the boy. 

CONVERSATIONS