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PARENTHOOD

After seven days in the woods, a Japanese boy abandoned by his parents has been found

Kyodo/via Reuters
A big search.
  • Steve Mollman
By Steve Mollman

Weekend editor

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Nobody said parenthood was easy.

In Japan this morning (June 3), a boy who was abandoned in the mountains of Hokkaido by his parents last weekend was found after a massive manhunt. The search for seven-year-old Yamato Tanooka, and the controversy surrounding the parents’ actions, has been big news in Japan and internationally.

Kyodo/via Reuters
Where he was found.

The parents said they had wanted to discipline the boy because he had been throwing rocks at cars and people. So they made him get out of their car, and then left him by the roadside as they drove off. When they returned a few minutes later, they couldn’t find him. The Hokkaido region is home to wild brown bears and gets cold at night.

When the parents first requested an official search for him, they didn’t tell authorities the truth, saying instead he had had gone missing while they foraged for vegetables. The father later admitted he’d been scared to tell the real story.

The search for the boy involved more than 180 rescuers, including members of the Japan Self-Defense Forces. Eventually he was found in military barracks in the town of Shikabe, about 5 km (3.1 miles) from where he was thought to have been lost. He appeared to be in relatively good health, and was sent to a hospital in Hakodate, a city in southern Hokkaido, via medical helicopter.

The parents could now face charges for negligence, according to police.

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