Search for Japanese boy left in forest as punishment

Search for Japanese boy

According to media reports Monday, rescue teams are searching for a seven-year-old boy missing for two days on a mountain range in Japan, after his parents abandoned him “as punishment.”

As reported by CNN, the area near Nanae-cho, Hokkaido, in the country’s north, is known to be home to wild bears.
The boy, Yamato Tanooka first went missing at around 4 p.m. local time (3 a.m. ET) on Saturday, according to a spokesman for the Hokkaido Prefectural Police.
He said police had received an emergency call from his parents at around 6 p.m., and were initially told that the boy had gone missing while on a day trip to the area with his parents and sister to collect wild vegetables.

The boy’s father said he avoided telling the truth because he found it embarrassing to ask for a massive search as a result of his punishment.

“I feel very sorry for my child,” the father told an NTV reporter. “I am so sorry for causing trouble for many people.”

Authorities warn of bears in the area

The rescuers used sniffer dogs and horses to search through overgrown forest and tall bushes, according to NTV.

Mitsuru Wakayama, a spokesman for the nearby town of Nanae, said locals passed through the forest only occasionally.

“Not many people or cars pass by, and it gets totally dark as there are no lights,” Wakayama said. “It’s not surprising to encounter bears anywhere in the area.”

The temperature in the forest dropped to 7 degrees Celsius (45°F) and heavy rain fell overnight, according to the media.

The police were determining whether the boy’s parents should be charged with child abandonment, Kyodo News service reported.

dj/rc (AP, Reuters, AP)

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