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Boy Left In Forest As Punishment By Parents Found Alive

A 7-year-old boy in Japan whose parents left him in a forest as punishment was found alive on June 3 after a search that lasted nearly a week.

Yamato Tanooka's parents were angry with the boy for throwing rocks at cars and people, and told him to get out of their car and stand on the side of the road while they drove off, according to AFP. When they returned a short while later, Yamato was gone, having wandered off into the woods. The woods on the island of Hokkaido are home bears and other predators, and temperatures dipped as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Yamato's disappearance sparked a frenzied search that lasted a week. On June 3 he was found alive, hungry but not hurt, after he walked to a military base, taking shelter in a hut on the base.

A soldier found the boy, saying that he did not appear scared, but rather relieved, to see the man. "I asked, 'Are you Yamato?'" said the soldier, who said the boy nodded.

Yamato's survival skills impressed the Japanese public, and he became the top trend on Twitter in the country.

"If he survived by himself, it's an unbelievable miracle," tweeted mountaineer Ken Noguchi, who has scaled Mount Everest.

The boy's parents, who initially told police he had gotten lost during a family hike, now say they regret the punishment.

"I told my son that I am sorry that I made him go through a very hard situation. He nodded to me," Yamato's father Takayuki Tanooka said, CNN reports. "I never thought the situation would develop in such a way. I thought it would be good for him, but it was too much." 

Other Twitter users suggested the parents should be punished for their irresponsibility. "Missing boy was found and that's all wonderful, but the parents must be disciplined such as being abandoned on an uninhabited island," said one user.

Yamato will reportedly remain in the hospital as doctors check him. He was also being treated for dehydration.

Source: AFP via Yahoo News, CNN / Photo credit: Loren Kerns/Flickr

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