Members of Japan’s military are now involved in the search for Yamato Tanooka, a seven-year-old boy who went missing Saturday afternoon after his parents left him by the side of the road as punishment for misbehaving.
A search team of roughly 200, including 75 members of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (SDF), are looking for the boy, according to local media reports.
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He was last seen wearing a t-shirt and jeans near a wooded area on Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan’s four main islands, which is also known for bears. The overnight temperatures can fall as low as 7 C.
“We still have no clue. We just do not know where he went,” rescue team spokesperson Satoshi Saito told CNN Wednesday. “Our fatigue level is peaking now. But we will continue to search for the boy.”
The Japan Times reports the parents had originally told police he became lost while they were out hiking, but later admitted they were angry after he threw stones at cars and people and had tried to discipline him.
When they returned to find him, he had disappeared.
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Military support was requested after rescuers and police officers scoured areas up to 15 kilometres from where the boy was last seen, with heavy rain at times hampering the search.
“The military personnel will scour the mountain slope,” Saito, told media. “Unless he started climbing the mountain, he would have hit a main road after walking for two to two kilometres in any other direction.”