Search ensues for missing boy after parents left him in Hokkaido mountains as punishment

  • A 7-year-old boy was reported missing on Saturday, May 28, after his parents left him by the woods as punishment
  • The search for the boy started Monday, May 30, 06:00 local time in the mountains near Nanae-cho, Hokkaido
  • The boy has yet to be found

A 7-year-old boy is missing in a forest of the Hokkaido mountains in northern Japan after his parents allegedly left him by the woods as punishment for misbehaving.

The boy, Yamato Tanooka, first went missing at around 4 p.m. local time on Saturday, May 28, said a spokesman for the Hokkaido Prefectural Police.

Police had received an emergency call from his parents at around 6 p.m., and were initially told that the boy had gone missing while on a day trip to the area with his family to forage for wild vegetables, as per an article published by BBC.

The parents later admitted to the police that they had left the boy alone in the mountains while on the way home to punish him for throwing stones at passing cars and people.

“I wanted to discipline him, so made him get out of the car to scare him a bit. He’s an active, lively boy, but I’m worried how he’s doing,” said the boy’s father, Takayuki Tanooka.

The public expressed their outrage on social media.

A Twitter post read: “This is not punishment but abuse!”

“The parents are so stupid that I am speechless,” said another.

Many are worried about the fate of the child in the forest alone, apparently with no food or water, as heavy rain hit the area overnight.

Mitsuru Wakayama, a spokesman for the nearby town of Nanae, said local residents pass through the mountainous area occasionally when they use it as a shortcut as it can get totally dark at night, as per an article published by CNN.

The area is also known to be home to wild bears.

More than 150 members of the local police and fire department have been searching for the boy since he was reported missing, but he has not yet been found.