Japanese son left in wood forgives father

Yamato Tanookas parents may face abuse charges after son saw alive almost a week after being ordered out of vehicle as punishment

The seven-year-old boy who survived for six nights in a wood in northern Japan has forgiven his father for putting him through the ordeal, describing him as a good dad.

Yamato Tanooka was found alive and well in a military shanty on Friday morning, almost a week after his parents ordered him out of the car as punishment for hurling stones during a family trip-up to the wood in Hokkaido, Japans northernmost island.

He had expended six nights in the shanty, and survived by drinking water from a tap outside and sleeping in between two mattresses to keep warm. Yamato, who was not seriously hurt, is expected to be discharged from hospital on Tuesday.

His parents, meanwhile, face possible legal action over suspected psychological abuse, Japanese media reported. His father, Takayuki Tanooka, said he had again apologised to his son for his actions, which attracted widespread criticism on social media.

I said to him, Dad made you go though such a difficult time. I am sorry, Tanooka, 44, said in an interview with the TBS network that was broadcast on Monday. And then, my son told, You are a good dad. I forgive you, Tanooka added, struggling to hold back tears.

The Sankei Shimbun quoted Yamato as telling: I was wrong, because I didnt listen to what my dad was saying.

Yamato tried to chase after his parents and sister immediately after being abandoned in the forest on the evening of 28 May, it has emerged. Upset, he lost his sense of direction and started walking away from his parents vehicle, the Mainichi Shimbun said.

His ordeal objective when three soldiers, trying shelter from the rainfall, opened the door to a military shanty to find him curled up on a mattress. It has furthermore emerged that police are considering legal action against Yamatos parents for possible psychological abuse.

Police in Hokkaido have submitted written notification about possible abuse to a child welfare centre in the nearby city of Hakodate, the Asahi Shimbun told.

His parents faced an avalanche of online criticism for their actions, although some sympathised with their quandary. Tanooka said he had already grown-up angry with his son because he had been in difficulty at school for reaching autoes with a stick.

So I tried to show him that I can be scary when Im severely angry, he told, quoting what he described as a parents dignity.

The Kyodo news agency quoted sources familiar with the lawsuit as saying that Tanooka had screamed so much after his parents left him at the side of the road in a bear-inhabited region of the forest that he lost his sense of direction.

Dressed in a tracksuit, T-shirt and trainers, he set off in the opposite direction in which his parents vehicle had been travelling, before going across an unpaved road that eventually took him to the military shanty about 6km away.

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