In a revival of ancient Japanese custom to abandon old mothers or fathers in forests or mountain-tops, modern Japanese parents have decided to punish their 7-year-old boy in a forest as punishment for his mischief — throwing stones at passing by cars in his street.
Though they intended to teach him mere a lesson, it proved dearer as the boy went missing when they returned to the spot an hour later. Moreover, the forest, infested with bears, is near Nanae-cho, on Hokkaido, in the northern part of Japan.
The boy Yamato Tanooka’s father initially told the police that the boy was missing on his own and later apologized for the lie and faces possible charges of child abuse. Meanwhile, the police are searching the forest and helicopter hunt is on for the boy.
“The parents left the boy in the mountains as punishment. They said they went back to the site immediately, but the boy was no longer there,” a Hokkaido police spokesman told the Japan Times.
The boy went missing around 4 p.m. (12:30 pm IST) on Saturday and the police began search two hours later. Rescuers began to search the entire forest holding torches and calling out the boy’s name but in vain.
“I feel very sorry for my child,” the father told NTV (Japan TV channel). But social media soon trolled the parents for their attitude. While some tweeted that it is abuse and not punishment others were appalled at the stupidity of parents.
Ubasute or abandoning an old woman, also called “oyasute” or “abandoning a parent” refers to the custom allegedly performed in ancient Japan, whereby an infirm or elderly relative was carried to a mountain, or some other remote, desolate place, and left there to die, either by dehydration, starvation, or exposure, as a form of euthanasia.