After being left alone by his parents in a remote woody area as punishment, seven-year-old Yamata Tonooka was found at around 7:50am this morning, having survived nearly a week on his own.
Authorities have told media that Tonooka was found in a military barracks building in Shikabe (shown on the map above), a town that’s five kilometers from where his parents abandoned him near Nanae last Saturday. Reportedly, they had wanted to punish him for misbehaving, so they made him get out of their car. By the time they returned to fetch him, he had disappeared.
At first, the parents told police that their son had gone missing while they had been gathering wild-growing vegetables, but eventually they admitted the truth.
Tonooka was left without food and water, and news reports expressed concern at the fact that Hokkaido forests are known to be inhabited by bears, and that overnight temperatures were dropping to around seven degrees Celsius. Fortunately, it appears Tonooka was unharmed, although he was airlifted to a hospital in Hakodate for medical tests.
According to an article by The Guardian, the boy was discovered “curled up” on a mattress and was given rice balls and bread by the soldiers who found him.
Tonooka has been reunited with his parents, who have expressed regret at their actions. His father, Takayuki Tanooka, said, “We have done an unforgivable thing to our child and we have caused a lot of trouble for everyone.”