Military joins search for Japanese boy missing in woods

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Tokyo, June 1 (IANS) Japanese soldiers on Wednesday joined the search for a seven-year-old boy missing in a forested, mountainous remote area of Hokkaido island.

Yamato Tanooka was left by the side of the road in woods in Nanae by his parents on May 28 as punishment for throwing stones at passing cars and people. However, when they returned he was gone, CNN reported.

Despite a search by a now 200-strong rescue team, including members of Japan’s Self-Defence Forces (SDF), there has been no sign of the boy.

“We still have no clue. We just do not know where he went,” rescue team spokesman Satoshi Saito told CNN on Wednesday.

“Our fatigue level is peaking now. But we will continue to search for the boy.”

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Thunderstorms brought an early end to the search on Tuesday, but clearer weather on Wednesday should allow rescuers to keep searching until nightfall, Saito said.

“We went through forest area roads towards the mountain yesterday (Tuesday) and we will get deeper into the side of roads today,” he said.

Temperatures in the area dip below 10 degrees Celsius at night, compounding fears for the boy as he was only wearing light clothing.

Yamato was last seen in a black T-shirt, navy jersey trousers and red sneakers and did not have any food or a mobile phone.

Originally the boy’s father told police his son had become lost during a family hike to gather wild vegetables, but later admitted he punished him for bad behaviour.

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