A seven-year-old boy who went missing after his parents left him in a Japanese forest “as punishment” has been found alive and unharmed.A police spokesman said Yamato Tanooka was discovered by a soldier at a military base in northern Hokkaido island. Manabu Takehara, a spokesman for the Self-Defense Forces, said the boy “looked in good health”, adding that he was taken to hospital by helicopter for a medical check.
Military officials expressed admiration for the boy’s perseverance. The building where he was found was a long way from where he had disappeared and involved a rigorous uphill climb. Yamato was dehydrated and had minor scratches on his arms and feet, but no serious health risks were found, according to a doctor who examined him.
Speaking outside the hospital, the boy’s father apologised and thanked rescuers who took part in the search. Takayuki Tanooka said: “My excessive act forced my son to have a painful time. I deeply apologise to people at his school, people in the rescue operation, and everybody for causing them trouble.”
According to the police spokesman, the boy “walked through the mountains” until he found the army building, broadcaster NHK reported. He also reportedly drank water and slept on mattresses spread on the floor. The soldier who found him gave him two rice balls, which the 7-year-old ate ravenously.