Missing Japanese boy was left in mountains as punishment: Police

The parents of a seven-year-old Japanese boy missing in the mountains of Hokkaido confessed that they had left him as a punishment.
The parents of a seven-year-old Japanese boy missing in the mountains of Hokkaido confessed that they had left him as a punishment. PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (AFP) - The parents of a seven-year-old Japanese boy missing in the mountains confessed on Sunday (May 29) that they had left him as a punishment and he did not get lost during a hike as first claimed, police said.

More than 150 rescuers and police officers were searching for a second day in mountains on the northern main island of Hokkaido after Yamato Tanooka went missing on Saturday, a police spokesman said.

His parents originally told police that Yamato got lost while the family were out walking in the area, a habitat of bears, to pick wild vegetables.

But the parents later admitted they had lied, he said.

"The parents left the boy in the mountains as a punishment," the spokesman said. "They said they went back to the site immediately but the boy was no longer there."

The father told a TV Asahi reporter he did not dare admit the truth while requesting a search.