Father abandons 7-year old son in a forest as punishment

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Despite of the ordeal he went through, the son said that he already forgave his father.

HOKKAIDO, Japan - Newspaper columns all over the world has dedicated a spot for the shocking survival story of a seven year old Japanese child who was left alone in a dense forest. Young Yamato Tanooka was forced to wander the dense forest on the northern island of Hokkaido for six days as a punishment for his misbehavior.

The 44-year old father, Takayuki Tanooka, was severely criticized after news broke out about the disappearance of his son. According to a recent report published in GMA News Online, Takayuki and his wife got angry with their son after learning that he was throwing stones at cars and people. To teach him a lesson, they forced him off their car by the side of a mountain road last May 28.



What seemed to be a rightful punishment turned out to be a life-changing mistake that almost cost Yamato his life. Right after being abandoned on the side of the road, Yamato tried to chase his parent's car. However, he was perplexed and ended up going the opposite way instead. On the other hand, Takayuki insisted that they came back for Yamato several minutes after they left him but to his dismay, they discovered that his son was already gone from the spot. They tried to look for him but there was no sign of Yamato anywhere.

Little did they know that by the time they returned, Yamato was already heading deep into the forest. The poor child endured a horrifying experience of six nights with little food and water and no human contact. On his interview with the police, Yamato revealed that he would walk around the drill fields on daylight, but he did not dare wander far. Aside from the ocassional wild animal cries and helicopter noises, Yamato has not seen or heard people.

Moreover, the child recounted his terrifying experience of walking for five hours in the darkness along an isolated path until he came to a hut near a military drill field where he was eventually rescued. It was not elaborated how the child managed to find food and water as the forest is scarce of fruit-bearing trees. What's more terrifying than the lack of food is the fact that the forest is known for its wild inhabitants: brown bears. Fortunately, Yamato has not encountered a single bear.

The search and rescue operation which included soldiers spent days scouring the mountainous forest but they failed to see a sign of the boy. He was finally rescued on Friday morning by a soldier who happened to stumble upon the hut he was sheltering, about 5.5 kilometers to where he had been left. Yamato told the soldier who discovered him that he believes his family was looking for him.
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Despite of the harsh conditions he was subjected to, it was a miracle that Yamato was found alive without serious injuries. However, he suffered minor scars on his arms and legs and also showed signs of slight dehydration due to a lack of potable water in the forest. It was also discovered that he shed two kilograms from his original 22kg. weight.



Upon being reunited with his son on Fridau, Takayuki bowed and apologized in front of the reporters for his "excessive actions". In a footage aired last Monday, teary-eyed Takayuki told broadcaster TBS that he regrets his actions and he already asked for forgiveness to his son.

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



According to Hokkaide Shimbun newspaper, Takayuki and his wife initially reported to the police that their child has gone missing while on a family outing to gather wild vegetables. He claimed that they lied to the police for the fear of social censure and being seen as abusive parents. However, the truth about the incident soon emerged.

On the other hand, Yamato is currently confined at a hospital and will be discharged on Tuesday. The hospital officials said that for someone who has undergone a traumatizing experience, Yamato was making a remarkable recovery. As a matter of fact, aside from finishing his meals quickly, he's already drawing in his notebook and playing cards with his family.

Takayuki punished his son, but it seems like he's the one who learned a valuable lesson in the end. The local police have already reported the incident to a child welfare center due to possible mental abuse.

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Father abandons 7-year old son in a forest as punishment
Despite of the ordeal he went through, the son said that he already forgave his father.
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