Rescue efforts are still underway for a Japanese boy whose parents abandoned him in a forest to teach him to behave.
The seven-year-old boy has now been missing for two days, on Mount Komagatake in Japan, after his parents abandoned him ‘as punishment’ for throwing rocks at passing cars.
The area near Nanae-cho, Hokkaido, in the north of Japan is known to be home to wild bears, CNN reports.
According to a spokesman for the Hokkaido Prefectural Police, the young boy, Yamato Tanooka, went missing at around 4 pm local time on Saturday.
Police received an emergency call from the boy’s parents at around 6 pm and were originally told the boy had gone missing while out on a day trip to collect wild vegetables on the mountain with his parents and sister.
However, the parents later told police that they’d left the boy alone in the mountains while on the way home to punish him for throwing stones. The family admitted they hesitated in reporting him missing because of their actions.
The father, Takayuki told TV Asahi:
I was not able to ask for (a search) with a reason of punishment… I thought it might be taken as a domestic violence.
Takayuki told Sankei Newspaper that he was ‘worried’ about his son, saying he only wanted to ‘discipline him’, so he made him get out of the car to ‘scare him a bit’.
The police spokesperson went on to say that the parents immediately drove back to where they had left young Yamato, but he was gone.
The search for the boy has gone on since Saturday, with more than 150 members of both the local police and fire departments joining the effort, but he’s not been found.
The parents have come under fire on social media with some calling their punishment ‘abuse’.
It is unclear if the parents will face charges.