The father of the Japanese boy who went missing in a forest for six days has issued a heartfelt public apology.
Seven-year-old Yamato Tanooka went missing on Saturday after his parents left him in a wooded area of Hokkaido as punishment for throwing rocks at cars and people. The boy was found safe on Friday by a soldier and suffered no serious health risks.
“My excessive behaviour caused my son such pain and inconvenienced so many people,” Takayuki Tanooka said in an emotional speech, “including the people at his school to the people that helped search for him. For that I am deeply sorry.”
More than 180 rescuers and troops were sent to look for Yamato, who was eventually discovered at military base five kilometres from where he disappeared.
Yamato Tanooka: lost and found! pic.twitter.com/arMnzqAznq— sraddhabuddhi (@sraddhabuddhi) June 3, 2016
“The very first thing I said to my son was, ‘I am so sorry for having caused you so much pain. Daddy is really sorry,’” Tanooka continued, fighting back tears. “We have raised him with love. I admit what we did was excessive. I had no idea it would end up like this. I deeply regret my excessive behaviour, but I did what I thought was best for him.”
The father also added, “We loved him before, but I hope to give him even more attention now,” News.com.au reports.
Since Tanooka’s son made national headlines this week, many people on social media have criticized the parents for abandoning their son. Some even deemed the discipline tactic child abuse.
@people This was child abuse, I hope they are held accountable for this!😡— Ashley P (@ZooMom36) June 3, 2016
He didn't go missing he was deliberately dumped by arsehole parents that should B charged with child neglect @ABC— KBG (@GateKurt) June 3, 2016
Now that the seven-year-old has been found, many are calling for the parents to be held accountable for their actions.
@CNN So glad he is alive... But his parents should be punished the very same way.— Fábio Deus (@fabiodeus666) June 3, 2016
@CNN I hope the parents will be charged for abandoning their child.— Sherri (@sherri1373) June 3, 2016
Police are now investigating whether or not the parents will be charged with child abandonment, The Sun UK reports.
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