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Japanese boy abandoned in woods is released from hospital

Yamato Tanooka
Yamato Tanooka

A Japanese boy who was found nearly a week after he was abandoned in a forest by his parents as a punishment has been released from hospital.

Seven-year-old Yamato Tanooka was met with flashing cameras and cheers from dozens of people when he appeared at the hospital entrance in the city of Hakodate on the northern island of Hokkaido.

He responded by waving to the crowd.

When asked how he was feeling, he said: "I am fine."

Yamato was found in a military training ground hut on Friday, six days after he was reported missing.

Japanese media said the boy had suffered only light dehydration and minor bruises on an arm and both of his legs, even though he had not eaten and drunk only water.

Several media reports said the police will not press charges against his parents for child neglect, but the Hokkaido police department would not confirm the reports.

His parents reported Yamato missing on May 29, initially telling police their son disappeared while they were collecting plants in the forest.

Later his father, Takayuki Tanooka, said he had planned to leave Yamato briefly in the forest as punishment because the boy had been throwing rocks at people and cars at a river earlier that day.

The punishment drew public scrutiny, generating debate in Japan over what is considered to be excessive in disciplining children.

Mr Tanooka told reporters after his son was found that he regretted his action.