‘I’m fine’: Japanese boy abandoned in woods released from hospital

A Japanese boy who was found nearly a week after he was abandoned in a forest by his parents as punishment waved to onlookers as he released from a hospital Tuesday. Seven-year-old Yamato Tanooka was met with flashing cameras and cheers from dozens of people when he appeared in the hospital entrance in the city of Hakodate on the northern island of Hokkaido. He responded by waving to the crowd. When asked how he was feeling, Yamato said, “I am fine.” Yamato was found in a military training ground hut on Friday, six days after he was reported missing.

I said to him, 'Dad made you go though such a hard time. I am sorry’. And then, my son said, 'You are a good dad. I forgive you’.

Takayuki Tanooka

Several media reports said the police will not press charges against his parents for child neglect, but the Hokkaido police department would not confirm the reports. His parents reported Yamato went missing on May 29, initially telling police their son disappeared when they were collecting plants in the forest. Later the father, Takayuki Tanooka, said he had planned to leave Yamato briefly in the forest as punishment because the boy had been throwing rocks at people and cars at a river earlier that day. The punishment drew public scrutiny, generating debate in Japan over what is considered to be excessive in disciplining children.