Yamato Tanooka, the boy who was left in the woods in what his parents had thought would be a brief punishment – and who had been missing in northern Japan for six days – has been found, according to local media reports.
“Police say the boy is in relatively good health,” according to NHK News. The agency adds that officials are now working to confirm that he’s the boy they’ve been looking for since Saturday.
Hundreds of people had taken up the search for the seven-year-old who was lost in bear-inhabited woods in Hokkaido, a large island in northern Japan. Citing police, TV Asahi says the boy has seems not to have suffered any noticeable trauma.
The boy was found Friday morning (local time) at a Self-Defense Forces training site and identified himself as the missing child, The Japan Times reports.
According to reporter Karyn Nishi-Poupee of Agence France-Presse, the boy “was found living in a military base where he walked.”
On NHK’s Japanese-language site, the agency says the boy was found at training grounds that are four kilometers — about 2.5 miles — north of where the boy went missing. NHK says that after he confirmed his name to SDF personnel, the boy was taken by helicopter to a hospital. The agency adds that the boy seemed to be hungry.
The Associated Press reports the boy’s father spoke outside the hospital where his son was taken, saying he had apologized to the child: “I told him I was so sorry for causing him such pain.”
AP also reports:
“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 [news agency].”
As Camila wrote this week for the Two-Way, “His parents initially said he disappeared as the family was gathering food in the forest, but later admitted leaving him alone intentionally, as a punishment.”
The boy had been throwing rocks at cars, his parents said, prompting them to leave him. They said that they returned quickly — but that the boy had already vanished.