Japanese boy left in bear-inhabited forest as punishment 'forgives' his father

'You are a good dad. I forgive you'

Samuel Osborne
Monday 06 June 2016 14:55
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Missing Japanese boy found

The seven-year-old Japanese boy who was found alive six days after being left in bear-inhabited woods by his parents has said he forgives his father.

Yamato Tanooka's parents made him get out of their car as punishment for throwing stones during a family trip to the woods of the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.

However, his parents found he was no longer there after they returned to the spot a few minutes later.

Yamato was eventually found by a soldier inside a building at a military base near the town of Shikabe, 2.5 miles from where he was left by his parents.

Takayuki Tanooka, father of 7-year-old boy Yamato Tanooka who went missing on May 28, 2016

His father, Takayuki Tanooka, 44, told the TBS network: "I said to him, 'Dad made you go though such a hard time. I am sorry'.

"And then my son said, 'You are a good dad. I forgive you'."

The boy tried to chase his parents' car but became disorientated and went the wrong way, the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper reported.

His parents initially told police he had got lost.

Brown bears are reputed to be common in the mountainous forests of Hokkaido, Japan 

More than 180 people were involved in the search for the young boy, including troops. The remote area where he was abandoned is home to brown bears.

The soldier who found Yamato said the boy had told him he had spent several days at the army base after wandering alone in the forest.

Other than suffering from dehydration, doctors found the boy had only a few minor scratches to his arms and feet.

Police have reported the case to a child welfare centre as possible mental abuse, the Hokkaido Shimbun newspaper reports.

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