Yamato Tanooka, the 7-year-old Japanese boy who got lost in a bear-inhabited woods in Hokkaido after his parents abandoned him there as punishment, has been reunited with his family.
A defense personnel discovered Yamato in a building located in a military drill area four miles from where he was left by his parents six days after he went missing. No visible injuries were observed on the young boy, but he was immediately brought to a hospital in Hakodate City to undergo tests.
Apparently, Yamato’s parents decided to leave him there as punishment for throwing rocks at cars.
Yamato miraculously survived the 6-day ordeal despite the fact that he had no food and the temperature in the woods drops to just six degrees at night time. Moreover, the forest is home to the deadly Ussuri brown bear, which can grow up to 1,200 lbs.
The young boy gained access to water from a nearby faucet and slept on mattresses spread on the floor of the building.
After his parents sought the help of authorities, a massive hunt involving about 200 police, school officials and local people was launched to find Yamato. The parents initially concealed the truth and told authorities that Yamato got lost while they were gathering mountain vegetables.
Takayuki Tanooka, the boy’s father, later admitted that he and his wife dropped off Yamato on a mountain road and drove off. Less than half a mile away, they stopped the car and walked back to where they had left the boy. However, Yamato had already disappeared by the time they got back.
Speaking to the PRESS outside the hospital, Mr. Tanooka said: “The first thing I did was apologize to him for causing such an awful memory for him.”
“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,” he continued. “We – well, we loved him before, but I hope to give him even more attention now.”
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