Yamato Tanooka leaves hospital after six-day ordeal in woods

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Father Apologizes for Leaving His Son in Woods

TOKYO — A boy who survived a six-day ordeal after being left in the woods by his parents as punishment was discharged from a hospital Tuesday.

Television footage showed Yamato Tanooka, 7, stride out of the hospital in northern Japan carrying a large paper baseball with messages written on it.

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"I'm all right!" the boy said when a reporter asked him how he was doing, adding he was eager to get back to school. Yamato smiled and waved shyly to the crowd of reporters before getting into a car with his parents.

Military personnel on a training mission found the child inside the grounds of the Komagatake military base in the town of Shikabe Friday.

The boy's parents initially said they were separated from their son while looking for wild plants in the woods. They changed their story a day later, saying the boy had been left behind as a "form of discipline," according to police.

Local media reported that Yamato had been punished for throwing rocks at cars.

Doctors at Hakodate Municipal Hospital said last week he had suffered only slight dehydration and malnutrition.

The boy's father apologized profusely outside of the hospital, saying his actions had put his son through "an extremely painful experience and caused tremendous trouble to people at his school and for those who searched for him."

"I really didn't think things would turn out this way," Takayuki Tanooka said in a voice quivering with emotion on Friday. "I think my actions were very excessive, and I deeply regret it."

Yomuiri Shimbun newspaper reported police wouldn't press charges against Yamato's parents.

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