Local News

Japanese boy found alive after six days lost in woods

He had been lost in the bear-infested woods for almost a week.

The seven-year-old boy who went missing in bear-inhabited forests in Japan after his parents left him on the side of the road him as punishment, has been found alive.

“The boy was found alive, but we don’t have information on details of his condition,” Satoshi Saito, a fire department rescuer, told AFP.

Yamato Tanooka had been lost in the forest for six days, before he was foundd alive at an old Self-Defense Forces training facility in the town of Shikabe, Hokkaido, about five kilometres from where he disappeared, according to the Daily Mail.

“One of our soldiers was preparing for drills this morning and unlocked the door of a building on the base, and there he was,” a member of Japan’s Self-Defence Forces told NHK national television.

“When he asked ‘are you Yamato?’ the boy said yes. Then he said he was hungry, so the soldier gave him some water, bread and riceballs.”

The child was taken to Hakodate Hospital by helicopter suffering from exhaustion, after five days surviving on just water.

As the search for the seven-year-old entered its fifth day, the parents of broke their silence after a backlash against them.

The youngster’s father, Takayuki Tanooka, said: “We have done an unforgivable thing to our child and we have caused a lot of trouble for everyone.

“I just hope he is safe.”

The hunt for Yamato took up 75 members of the Japanese defence force, 200 police, plus volunteers, who have been battling their way through the bush in the Hokkaido island forest.

A hunter also assisted police with their enquiries, when fresh bear tracks were found in the area where the youngster disappeared.

The parents initially said they has lost the boy while foraging for plants, but later admitted they left him by the road to discipline him for bad behaviour.

When they returned, the boy had gone.

The area where the boy went missing is so remote locals rarely go through it, and is known for being the habitat of many brown bears.

Related stories


Get your favourite magazines home delivered!  

Subscribe and save up to 38% on a magazine subscription.