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No charges for parents of Japanese boy found after six days in woods

Posted at 11:50 PM, Jun 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-06 23:53:41-04

Police in Japan’s Hokkaido prefecture say they won’t pursue criminal charges against the parents of a seven-year-old boy who was lost in the woods for six days.

However, they’ve lodged a complaint against his parents with with the Child Constitution Office in Hakodate City on suspicion of psychological abuse, Toshifumi Goto, a spokesman for the Hokkaido Prefectural Police, told CNN.

Yamato Tanooka’s father Takayuki left him on a roadside in woods in Nanae, Hokkaido, on May 28, as a way to punish the boy for throwing rocks at passing cars and people during a family trip.

When his parents returned a short time later, the boy had disappeared. He was found on Friday, after a six-day search by hundreds of rescue workers. Yamato had sheltered from the cold in an empty building once used by the Japan military, and drank water from a tap outside.

After his son was found, Tanooka expressed remorse for abandoning his child. “I never thought the situation would develop in such a way. I thought it would be good for him, but it was too much,” he told a press conference.

After questioning the boy for an hour on Monday, Hokkaido police told Japanese news agency Kyodo that his story was consistent with his parents’ version of events.

Dr. Yoshiyuki Sakai, the doctor who examined Yamato when he was found last Friday, said he appeared to be in good condition for someone who had spent so long without food.

Yamato has been hospitalized since Friday, being treated intravenously for dehydration and showing signs of malnutrition.

The boy is expected to be discharged from Hakodate City Hospital at 2 p.m. local time (1 a.m. ET) on Tuesday.