Yamato Tanooka, a seven-year-old, was found in an abandoned hut a week after his disappearance. The little boy was abandoned by his parents on the side of a road in a northern island in Japan. After being found, the boy’s father gave an emotional speech asking for forgiveness.
After a massive search was held for a week, including search dogs and around 180 people, little Yamato Tanooka was found by three military soldiers from Japan’s Self-Defense forces that weren’t involved in the search but knew about the boy’s disappearance.
According to CNN, the boy was found safe yet starving. The first words he spoke to the soldiers were “I am hungry” to which the soldiers responded by giving the boy two rice balls and lots of water. The boy was found unharmed, with a couple of scratches on his body and dehydrated.
The nation celebrated Yamato’s return home. However, a controversial discussion emerged after the news about the boy’s abandonment made local headlines. According to the boy’s father, Takayuki Tanooka, they were trying to teach the seven-year-old a lesson by leaving him on the side of a road for five minutes.
The couple left the little boy and drove away for several minutes, but when they returned the boy wasn’t there anymore. Tanooka contacted rescue forces assuring his boy went missing while picking wild vegetables with his family.
Harsh parenting in Japan
According to local reports, Yamato’s parents tried to teach him a lesson for throwing rocks at cars and passing people. They left the boy at the side of a road on the Japanese island of Hokkaido, which is characterized by having a large bear population.
The boy went on to walk four miles into the forest, Fox News reported, to find an empty hut that was used in a military drill area but had been abandoned for months. The location had no food and no heat in an area that drops to -40 degrees at night.
Little Yamato Tanooka survived a week without food and drinking water from a tap outside, wrapping himself in two mattresses at night to keep himself warm. Military forces have stated their admiration for the boy’s survival skills at such a young age.
While the boy was missing, a massive search was issued by firefighters, police officers, and the national defense force.
“We dispatched about 70 personnel and 15 vehicles,” said the Ministry of Defense press representative Haneo Yohei.
Tanooka’s father apologized to local media in an emotional speech with tears in his eyes, assuring he was very sorry for the results of his actions. Assuring he and his wife have raised his son with nothing but love, as he bowed holding tears.
The father admitted they left the boy as a lesson but hesitated to tell the truth out of fear of a domestic violence pledge. Japanese fire department assured that having known the truth, the search would have taken a different turn.
Several discussions have emerged from the boy’s disappearance, while questioning the parents methods to discipline their son. Yet, this is not the first case of a harsh parenting discussion in Japan.
According to The Los Angeles Time, in 2001 a couple left their son abandoned in a car, bound in his hands and feet to teach him a lesson. The boy was later found by a motorcycle rider the next day.
It is yet to be seen if police and local forces will open an investigation to Tanooka’s parents.
UPDATE: Yamato Tanooka taken to hospital suffering exhaustion after 5 days without food https://t.co/jc73FhTiP2
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) June 3, 2016