Search for child lost in Hokkaido still ongoing.
Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido is famous for its vast stretches of undeveloped forest and mountain ranges, which make for great locations in which to ski, hike, or camp. Unfortunately, one married couple also decided that Hokkaido’s woodlands would be the perfect place to abandon their young child for being disobedient.
On the evening of Saturday, May 28, police received a report from a Mr. and Mrs. Tanooka that their seven-year-old son, Yamato, had gotten lost during an excursion to pick edible mountain greens in the forest at the base of Komagatake, a 1,131-meter (3,711-foot) active volcano in the southwestern part of Hokkaido (pictured above). A search party was immediately organized, but even by the late afternoon of the following day, Yamato had not been located.
As the police continued to interview the boy’s parents, it eventually came to light that the boy had not, in fact, been gathering mountain greens. Instead, as punishment for not doing as he was told, Mr. and Mrs. Tanooka had decided to discipline their son by stopping their car sometime after 5 p.m. on a lonely stretch of road near Komagatake. They then ordered the boy out of the vehicle, after which they drove off, leaving him alone in the wild.
The parents claim they returned to the scene right away, but by that time their son was gone. No doubt making Yamato even harder to find in the fading daylight was the fact that he had been wearing a black T-shirt and dark blue nylon pants at the time, proving that people dim-witted enough to think leaving an elementary school student in the woods is an acceptable form of parenting also lack the foresight to at least make sure he’s dressed in an easy-to-spot outfit.
As of Monday, Yamato still has not been found, despite the authorities dispatching both on-the-ground searchers and helicopters to the area. We hope he’s rescued soon, and also that he’s placed in the custody of guardians more fit to take care of such a young life.
Update: Yamato was found by a member of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces on the morning of June 3, alive and unharmed.