Abandoned Japanese boy, Yamato Tanooka, is speaking out after he was found last Friday by rescuers. The 7-year-old went missing after his parents left him alone in the woods on May 28 as punishment for misbehaving. A frantic search for the missing boy led investigators on a six-day rescue mission that turned up nothing in the bear-infested woods until he was found at an empty Japanese military base.
Yamato was found dehydrated and mildly suffering from malnutrition. He was promptly taken to a hospital on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. After a series of tests and undergoing treatment, he was released from Hakodate City Hospital and went home with his parents Tuesday afternoon. The boy was seen carrying a large card shaped like a baseball filled with cards and messages from well-wishers.
CNN reports that the abandoned Japanese boy who’s made headlines answered questions from reporters as he left the medical care facility.
“I am okay,” Tanooka said.
A 7-year-old Japanese boy was found unharmed after his parents abandoned him in a bear-filled forest https://t.co/UIvh6W9WZi
— New York Post (@nypost) June 4, 2016
Now that he’s out of the hospital and ready to get back to his life, Tanooka said he’s looking forward to returning to school and participating in sports day.
Yamato’s parents reportedly bowed to the doctor and hospital staff before they departed in their van.
As reported, Yamato Tanooka took refuge in a building at the abandoned military base after his father intentionally left his son by the side of the road as a disciplinary measure for his inappropriate conduct on a family outing. Yamato survived his days abandoned in the Japanese woods settling at the military base and drinking water from a tap outside.
Police in Japan’s Hokkaido prefecture aren’t pressing criminal charges against Yamato’s parents, but a Hokkaido Prefectural Police spokesman says they’ve filed a complaint against the mother and father with the Child Constitution Office in Hakodate City on suspicion of psychological abuse.
Yamato’s father, Takayuki Tanooka, expressed remorse after his son was found.
According to the report, the six-day search involved more than 200 rescue workers and members of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces.
“I never thought the situation would develop in such a way. I thought it would be good for him, but it was too much,” Mr. Tanooka said at a press conference.
It was determined by the Hokkaido police that Yamato’s story matched that of his parents. He was questioned extensively about the events that unfolded the day he went missing.
Dr. Yoshiyuki Sakai, the doctor who examined Yamato when he was found, said the boy appeared to be in good condition after spending so long outdoors without sufficient food or water.
The Mainichi Shimbun reports via the New York Post that the missing Japanese boy was sobbing so hard after he was abandoned that he went the wrong direction and got lost.
“I walked for about five hours, I think,” Yamato was quoted as saying.
Once the child discovered the building, he said that he “was cold, so I went inside to sleep.”
Yamato Tanooka said he heard search helicopters flying overhead, but chose to stay inside and wait for them to find him.
The report continues that Yamato’s parents initially said that their son disappeared while they searched for edible plants but later admitted to police they left him by the road to punish him for throwing rocks at people and cars. When they returned, the boy was gone.
BBC News – Abandoned Japanese boy: Seven-year-old Yamato Tanooka ‘forgives father’ https://t.co/jEqyBnnRUr
— Nathan Ham (@NathanHam87) June 7, 2016
BBC News reports that Yamato’s father told reporters his son has forgiven him.
“I said to him, ‘Dad made you go through such a hard time. I am sorry,'” Mr. Tanooka said, adding, “And then, my son said, ‘You are a good dad. I forgive you.'”
[Image via Shutterstock]