The seven-year-old Japanese boy who went missing nearly a week ago in the wild bear-inhabited forest has been found alive on Friday at a military base. Yamato Tanooka appeared to be in a good health and had minor scratches on his body.
Yamato's parents had apparently abandoned him by a wooded road near Nanae in Hokkaido region to punish him for throwing stones at vehicles and people while they had gone to collect wild vegetable. When they went back minutes later to take him he had disappeared by then. He was just wearing only a T-shirt and jeans, in an area where night temperatures can fall to as low as 9C.
Ross Findlay, founder of the Niseko Adventure Centre in the region said, "It's been colder than it usually is at this time of year."
"We've had snow on top of the mountain in Niseko, though that might not have been the case of Nanae, which is further south. But for a small boy who doesn't have much body fat, that's a problem," added Mr Findlay.
The father of the boy thanked the rescuers and said, “I deeply apologise to people at his school, people in the rescue operation, and everybody for causing them trouble. My excessive act forced my son to have a painful time.”
"The first thing I said to my son was, 'I'm very sorry to have caused you to face this suffering because of me,'" added the father.
An unidentified Self-Defence Force official said that there were two buildings on the perimeter of an exercise field, and when the soldier opened the door of one of them he found the boy inside.
"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 boy was hungry so the soldier who found him gave him something to eat, another military official said. There was a tap outside the hut and that the boy had been drinking water from it while he sheltered there.
The parents of the boy 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.