Japanese boy missing in mountains after being left by parents as 'punishment'

Story highlights

  • A seven-year-old boy has gone missing in woods in an area of Japan that is home to wild bears
  • His parents initially said he became lost after looking for wild vegetables with his family

(CNN)Rescue teams are searching for a seven-year-old boy missing for two days on a mountain range in Japan, after his parents abandoned him "as punishment."

The area near Nanae-cho, Hokkaido, in the country's north, is known to be home to wild bears.
The boy, Yamato Tanooka first went missing at around 4 p.m. local time (3 a.m. ET) on Saturday, according to a spokesman for the Hokkaido Prefectural Police.
    Yamato Tanooka
    He said police had received an emergency call from his parents at around 6 p.m., and were initially told that the boy had gone missing while on a day trip to the area with his parents and sister to collect wild vegetables.
    The parents later admitted to police they had left the boy alone in the mountains while on the way home to punish him for throwing stones at passing cars and people.
    The boy's father suggested the family had hesitated in reporting him missing because of the circumstances surrounding his disappearance.
    "I was not able to ask for (a search) with a reason of punishment," he told TV Asahi. "I thought it might be taken as a domestic violence."
    The parents immediately drove back to where they had left Yamato, but he was no longer there, according to the police spokesman.
    More than 150 members of the local police and fire department have been searching for the boy since Saturday, but he has not yet been found.