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Should the parents of the 7-year-old boy who spent six days in a Hokkaido mountain forest after being forced out of the family car for misbehaving, face some sort of criminal charges?

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Criminal charges? No. What would it be?

Should they be liable for costs incurred? Debatable.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

No. They were trying to be good parents, and made a bad decision. The result was punishment enough. At most, they should have to go through some sort of parental guidance course.

0 ( +14 / -14 )

I think the parents just messed up on this. This embarassment is a good enough lesson for them. As for the boy, he is still too young to understand the bigger picture here.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

What if he succumbed to the elements? Would the answers be different? You don't leave a 7 yo to fend for himself. A very traumatic experience he has had.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

Yes, child endangerment and obstruction. You could through neglect at the parents, but you would have to show a history of the parents making poor choices. We have to realize that, although no one was injured, a crime did occur and city resources where used. A child was put into danger because of poor decisions made by parents ( child endangerment). When the police and rescue services asked how the child got lost they lied (obstruction). If the child had died, there would be no question of a crime being committed, so not charging the parents is subjective conclusion because of an 'happy ending'.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Absolutely yes. Child abuse, lying to police, and ultimately costing the public probably millions in taxes. Take the children away from them for starters until they can prove that they will no longer abuse them. They should also have to pay back the money spent on searching for the boy, and do community service for some years for the crimes themselves, as well as for the inconvenience and trouble they caused the public, and the embarrassment they caused the nation.

Strangerland: "They were trying to be good parents, and made a bad decision."

So, if you break the law and endanger people's lives, or even kill them, it's okay by you as long as deep down you might be a good person.

0 ( +10 / -10 )

So, if you break the law and endanger people's lives, or even kill them, it's okay by you as long as deep down you might be a good person.

It depends on the circumstance. In this case, not only was it not intentional, and it was with good intention, albeit misguided. Punishment in this case does not serve the family, the boy, nor society. It simply serves some people's hysteric need for vengeance. Some people always need to find someone wrong, and always need to see someone punished.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

Strangerland: "Punishment in this case does not serve the family, the boy, nor society. "

It is the law! If there is no punishment for breaking the law then the laws are completely meaningless, which is detrimental to society.

"Some people always need to find someone wrong, and always need to see someone punished."

And some, sadly, find the need to see something right, even when it's not there at all, be it a guy crashing a plane full of people into a mountain, or parents abandoning their child on a mountain.

Did they break laws, or didn't they, Strangerland? Just answer the question.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

For those who voted, "no" -you'd prob be singing a different tune if he was killed by a wild animal or starved to death.

The parents clearly neglected their son and seriously put his life n' danger regardless.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

The parents were trying to discipline their son for misbehavior. They just wanted to scare the boy straight. They would never have thought the boy would wander into the forest. The idea that they should face some kind of criminal charge is ridiculous.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

Strangerland: "Punishment in this case does not serve the family, the boy, nor society. "

It is the law! If there is no punishment for breaking the law then the laws are completely meaningless, which is detrimental to society.

Ahh the old 'justice must be blind' argument.

We don't live in a vacuum. Justice shouldn't be blind. Laws are meant to make society better, if they are not making society better, then they aren't serving their purpose. Punishing the parents for the sake of punishing the parents does not serve anyone, other than those with a need for revenge.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

Strangerland: "We don't live in a vacuum. Justice shouldn't be blind. Laws are meant to make society better, if they are not making society better, then they aren't serving their purpose."

I notice you couldn't answer my question. Did they break laws? Yes or no. Child abandonment makes nothing better, my friend. And lest we forget they cost society millions for what you call 'misguided' actions, and diverted emergency services for something COMPLETELY avoidable in breaking the law. Justice is not being blind by punishing these people. What YOU want is for the law to turn a blind eye when you find it suitable. Obviously they should not get as severe a punishment as if the child had been found dead -- something extremely likely despite you calling it 'misguided', as though they had merely sent the child early and the next day he was a little more tired than usual because his or her schedule was thrown off -- but they still broke the law, and they should still face some consequences more than just getting pity from the likes of you.

Meiyouwenti: "The idea that they should face some kind of criminal charge is ridiculous."

Wrong. It's ridiculous to say they should not, just because in this case in the end the boy was found alive. Hell, I bet half of you would STILL say the parents 'suffered enough' if the boy had been found dead. I bet pointing a knife or a gun at a kid would scare them, too, so is it okay to do that so long as you don't actually hurt them? Is starving them as punishment okay? Tying them to a tree? Locking them in plastic containers? Why not?

And again, how much did this little 'misguided parenting' cost society, in yen? Were any emergencies not immediately attended to because the emergency services were off looking for the child these parents abandoned?

What's ridiculous is suggesting that it's okay to break the law in some cases, but in others it is not.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

The child will struggle to be able to trust his parents again, but would be further damaged by being put into care.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I cannot believe that abandoning a child on the side of the road, regardless of intent, is legal in any developed country that aspires to protect children. However, in light of the circumstance, I think a suspended sentence would be appropriate in any case.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Absolutely. This is child abuse and negligence. There are many ways to discipline your child. This is not one of them.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

....i think thats punishment enough. any other punishment would be nothing to them.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

I think they should be forced to live in the woods for 6 days.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Somehow I don't think these parents will be disciplining their son in such a way again, so devoting any more public resources on them now would not justify the costs.

Give them a stern warning to not be so careless (I think they already figured as much themselves), and be done with it.

I'm just glad the boy is OK! The poor kid probably wants to just forget about what happened, so although one is very curious to hear more of his story, I hope the media leaves it alone.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

No. Punishments should fit the crime. Would it help the child if his parents go to jail? They all learned a lot and have been punished enough.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I notice you couldn't answer my question. Did they break laws? Yes or no.

Show me the law, and I'll answer you then. I have never seen it, so I can't say whether they broke it or not.

lest we forget they cost society millions for what you call 'misguided' actions, and diverted emergency services for something COMPLETELY avoidable

Sure, but that's the way the world works sometimes.

Justice is not being blind by punishing these people.

Yes it is. They made a mistake, and they have been through enough. Punishing them serves no benefit to the child, nor to society. It simply makes some people feel better because someone is getting punished.

What YOU want is for the law to turn a blind eye when you find it suitable.

No, what I want is for justice to recognize when there is a benefit to being punitive, and when there isn't. It has nothing to do with my personal feelings - it wasn't my kid, and I wouldn't do what they did in the first place.

Obviously they should not get as severe a punishment as if the child had been found dead

See this is just weird - why not? The action was the same, and the result was out of their hands. If you are going to argue that they should be punished simply because it was illegal, then there is no logical reason you should be arguing a lesser punishment. In doing so, you are saying the same thing I am - that justice shouldn't be blind. Only now you are ok with it because it's what you say, not what I have said.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

YES! It's a no brainier. Can't believe so many "no" votes. Bunch of liberal criminals on this site. Disgusting. Feel sorry for any children of such ilk.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

We don't live in a vacuum. Justice shouldn't be blind. Laws are meant to make society better,.

Exactly why it should be some kind of punishment otherwise other parents may think it was a normal parental education procedure and do the same to see if their boy is a better boy than this one in the survival area. Normally it should not be necessary but Japan is a country where common sense never prevail so the society needs to be reminded constantly, like with those posters in the train station which are only here to remind the society to not kick or punch the staff.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The problem is finding a punishment that doesn't also punish the boy. Fine the parents? That's money that has zero chance of going into raising him. Send the parents to jail? That's time they can't spend repairing their broken relationship with him.

Howling for blood is a good way to feel self-righteous because it is a way for us in the peanut gallery to proclaim to each other how much we hate child abuse (so, assumably they can see how we wouldn't abuse our own children by how angry we get over this case), but if it doesn't make the life of the boy who is the victim here better, what's the point? Justice which serves no purpose but to make the mob feel better about itself isn't justice.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Good post katsu.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

I think they should be forced to live in the woods for 6 days.

And while they're doing that, some of the parenting experts here could look after the kid.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

i think punishing the parents would only serve to further traumatize and disadvantage the kids. However, both parents should be made to attend counselling and parenting seminars to ensure they dont do anything as mean or as stupid again. Then again, he has made a public apology and expressed his regret, which means he has been absolved of his sins and can carry on regardless.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Cant belive some comments here. No, because it will make it worse. If you were never thretend with being made to walk home if you were naughty then lucky you.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

If you were never thretend with being made to walk home if you were naughty then lucky you.

He was not 'threatened with being made to walk home'. He was dumped alone in the woods, miles from home (from a quick look at the map, it looks like 20-plus km as the crow flies) on a mountainside, in the woods. This is not 'if you don't behave you'll have to walk home' territory. No way he could be expected to walk home that distance, if he even had any idea of which direction home was (and as it happens, he ended up walking in the opposite direction to home).

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Yes, I believe there should be some form of punishment. I don't think it should be anything severe, however they left their 7 year old child unattended without supervision, food, clear water, or shelter. There is no telling what could have happened, he could have starved to death or worst he could have been killed by a bear! There are many ways to punish a misbehaving child without going to this extreme, this is why there are so many cases of parents killing their children in Japan even though Japan is one of the most safest countries in the world. I wonder how the comments would change if the boy was found dead. Totally unacceptable!!!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If what they had done affected their family only and no one was harmed by it, there wouldn't need to be any kind of civic action. But the irresponsible actions of the parents does have an effect on the society. It must have an effect on the boy. In a few short years, the boy will be an adult.

The point of any punishment is to show the lines of behaviour beyond which it is not good to cross. They crossed the line. Therefore there should be some kind of punishment.

I just hope that they keep psych out of it.

"Counselling" and psychs just make it worse.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Howling for blood is a good way to feel self-righteous because it is a way for us in the peanut gallery to proclaim to each other how much we hate child abuse (so, assumably they can see how we wouldn't abuse our own children by how angry we get over this case), but if it doesn't make the life of the boy who is the victim here better, what's the point? Justice which serves no purpose but to make the mob feel better about itself isn't justice.

I agree with all of that. It's very well said.

The point that isn't addressed though is that punishments are seen as and can work as deterrents. Don't drink and drive or its a three year ban and a one million yen fine. That is a clear case of a punishment being set as a deterrent to others.

I agree that it would be wrong for these parents to be charged because their disciplinary technique was a socially acceptable traditional one. However pretend abandonment of a child in an unfamiliar place is cruel, reckless and irresponsible and other parents should be strongly deterred from doing it. For this reason, outright criticism of the parents should be welcomed. If this ultimately doesn't deter other parents from doing it, I'd be happy with those parents being charged. I hope this incident will draw the line, but if it doesn't, the justice system should be used to draw one.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

All of this talk about punishment just making the situation worse for the child is off-base. The parents thought that abandoning their child in the wilderness was a reasonable thing to do. So, what other crazy things would they also find reasonable? Their actions have proved that their logic, responsibility, or parenting techniques are severely lacking. The parents' deficiencies caused a major problem once...what makes you think it'd never cause another problem later? Not such a publicized one, to be sure - most major parenting mistakes don't make the front page of newspapers. But that doesn't make them less harmful to the child. Taking the child away from the parents would be preventing future harm - it's pre-emptive support, not a retro-active punishment.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Certainly the parents and family should be evaluated by trained professionald

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Have you not been tossed out of a car by an angry parent?? I have ... brought back some funny childhood memories. I see a book and tv drama in the works!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Have you not been tossed out of a car by an angry parent?? I have ... brought back some funny childhood memories.

Me too. I remember my mother bringing the car to a screeching halt and screaming at me and my siblings to get out of the car (we had been quarrelling in the back seat). After a few minutes, she cooled off and told us to get back in. The rest of the drive continued in complete silence. The worst part for me was biting my lip, trying not to laugh ...

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

jojo_in_japan: Have you not been tossed out of a car by an angry parent??

Yup, sure have. Was kicked out and made to stand there on the side of the road as the car drove off....for about 20 meters down the road, just enough to scare some manners into me without leaving a vulnerable child out of eyesight and deserted. Which is the point. This is meant to be a threat - not to go through with short-term abandonment.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So many are willing to "sweep it under the rug" because the boy was found okay, the old "No harm, no foul" ruling. What if he had died, a suspended sentence from a judge who "understood" after seeing the father cry and bow a lot?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Of course! They left their kid in a bear-infested area. What if he had been mauled to death? Would you still be saying the parents shouldn't face repercussions?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Katsu: "Howling for blood is a good way to feel self-righteous because it is a way for us in the peanut gallery to proclaim to each other how much we hate child abuse"

So, it's okay to break the law. Got it.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

smithinjapanJUN. 10, 2016 - 06:25PM JST Katsu: "Howling for blood is a good way to feel self-righteous because it is a way for us in the peanut gallery to proclaim to each other how much we hate child abuse" So, it's okay to break the law. Got it.

I never said anything of the sort. If you're not going to bother to read my post, why bother to reply?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

At least make them stay in the same hut for 6 days with no food

0 ( +0 / -0 )

katsu78: "I never said anything of the sort"

You absolutely did. If you honstly believe there is no point in punishing the parents despite them having broken the laws, why can we not all just start breaking laws and not be punished? It doesn't matter what laws are INTENDED to do when suddenly breaking them is questionable, what matters is that they broke them, plain and simple.

Did they break the law? YES! So why should THEY not be punished in accordance with the law? If you think they should not be, you are saying in effect it is okay to break the law. THat is all there is to it. If I drive drunk to pick up my daughter because I don't want her to walk home alone at night, even if I don't cause any accidents or harm to anyone, if I am caught I would expect to be punished for endangering others and breaking the law.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

smithinjapanJUN. 11, 2016 - 04:07PM JST You absolutely did. If you honstly believe there is no point in punishing the parents

How convenient, I can stop you right there because I never said there was no point in punishing the parents.

You're still wasting both of our time though. I hope smashing that strawman to bits at least made you feel good.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The father will never punish the boy again, he reassured it on TV. However, there should be stronger law to ensure such gruesome punishments are not given to children. One small careless action can prove to be dangerous for their children.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is quite ridiculous and I would like to see more "No" votes instead of "no confidence" votes. Do people really want to see both of these parents in a jail cell and their kids stolen by the Gov. Do you want to see the whole family in jail (a better solution)?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

leaving a young kid behind like that is not parenting but rather abandonment. Kids are not pieces of paper you discard like trash and then say oh wait I didn't mean to throw that away...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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