A Japanese child left by his parents in remote woods has been found alive and well. Seven-year-old Yamato Tanooka, who was taken to hospital for medical checks, is said to be in good health.
Officials say he was found by chance by a soldier some five kilometres from where he is first believed to have been left.
The boy went missing on Saturday in Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island, after his parents made him get out of the car as a punishment for throwing stones. They say when they returned shortly afterwards to collect him he had gone.
I told him I was so sorry for causing him such pain.
A military officer, speaking on the national broadcaster NHK, said the boy was found when a soldier unlocked the hut, about 5 kilometers from where he disappeared.
The boy told police he had been in the drill area for several days after walking alone in the forest.
The boy suffered some dehydration and was getting an intravenous drop, but besides some minor scratches on his arms and feet, no serious risks to his health were found, a medical doctor who had examined him was quoted as saying by Kyodo.
More than 180 rescuers, including troops, had been searching the area.
The boy’s plight riveted the nation, highlighted in daily news, and setting off some soul-searching about appropriate punishment.
Asked what he had told his son, the boy’s father, blinking back tears, said, “I told him I was so sorry for causing him such pain.”