'10-Day Drama' Ends for Boy Left in Forest

Yamato Tanooka released from hospital, says he's 'fine'
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 7, 2016 4:00 AM CDT
Yamato Tanooka, who was found after being abandoned by his parents as punishment in a forest, waves as he leaves a hospital in Hakodate on the northern island of Hokkaido Tuesday, June 7, 2016. The seven-year-old...   (Daisuke Suzuki)
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(Newser) – The "10-day drama" is finally over for Yamato Tanooka, reports the Japan Times. The 7-year-old was on Tuesday afternoon released from a hospital in Hakodate under the watchful eyes of television cameras, which captured him waving and telling a reporter, "I am fine." Also fine, at least legally speaking: The child's parents, who will not face child-neglect charges. The Hokkaido Prefectural Police say that Yamato's comments in an hour-long interview jibed with what father Takayuki Tanooka and his wife told authorities about deciding to leave the boy alone in the forest for a few minutes on May 28 as punishment for throwing rocks; Yamato was found six days later.

The AP reports the case may still be transferred to a local children's welfare center. A rep with the Hakodate Children's Welfare Center had no comment. As for Yamato being fine, the AP reports that while he went without food for the length of his time in the woods (tap water was available in the military training ground hut where he sought shelter), he suffered only mild dehydration and had some insignificant bruises on an arm and his legs. He told those gathered outside the hospital that he is eager to go back to school and take part in a school sports day. The BBC notes that in a Monday interview, the boy's father recounted a conversation he had with his child in which he apologized for making him "go though such a hard time." The boy's reply, per Tanooka: "You are a good dad. I forgive you." (Read more Japan stories.)

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