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Seven-year-old boy missing in Japan forest found alive: officials

Update: June, 03/2016 - 12:04
A shelter in an exercise area of the Ground Self-Defense Force in the northern Japan town of Shikabe, at which Yamato Tanooka, 7, was found safe six days after being left behind by his parents as punishment for misbehaving. - KYODO/VNA Photo
Viet Nam News

TOKYO - A seven-year-old boy missing since being abandoned in a bear-inhabited forest in northern Japan as a punishment nearly a week ago was found alive today and reunited with his parents, officials said.

The boy, apparently unharmed and in good health, was discovered at a military base. Reports said he had taken shelter in a hut and found a tap to drink from but was hungry and immediately asked for food when he was discovered.

"A Self-Defence Force official who was on a drill found a boy whose age appeared to be seven," said Tomohito Tamura, spokesman for police in northern Hokkaido island.

"There was no conspicuous external injury, and the boy introduced himself as Yamato Tanooka," he said, adding that the boy’s parents were reunited with him and confirmed he was their son.

The child’s sobbing father related the emotional reunion in a television interview.

"My excessive act forced my son to have a painful time," Yamato Tanooka’s father told reporters outside the hospital where his son was being treated.

"I deeply apologise to people at his school, people in the rescue operation, and everybody for causing them trouble," he added, thanking the rescuers.

Self-Defense Forces spokesman Manabu Takehara said that the boy "looked in good health" but was taken to hospital by helicopter for a check-up as a precaution.

He had been missing since Saturday after his parents said they made him get out of their car on a mountain road as punishment for misbehaving -- actions that have seen them severely criticised.

The parents originally told police their son had got lost while they were out hiking to gather wild vegetables, but later admitted they became angry and ordered him onto the road because he had thrown stones at cars and people. — AFP

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