Tokyo CNN  — 

A missing 7-year-old boy was found unharmed after searchers spent nearly a week combing dense forest in the northern Japan island of Hokkaido, Japanese officials said Friday.

Three soldiers from Japan’s Self-Defense Forces found Yamato Tanooka on the premises of the military’s Komagatake exercise field Friday morning, said Hiroki Komori, a spokesman for the Northern Army 11th Brigade.

Yamato was found 6 kilometers from the spot where his parents left him as punishment for throwing stones, according to local media. Yamato told police he reached the building that first night, local media said.

He appeared to be in good condition for someone who had spent seven days without food, Dr. Yoshiyuki Sakai, the doctor who examined Yamato, told Asahi TV. He spoke coherently and showed signs of mild dehydration and malnutrition; he had a light rash on his arms and legs, the doctor said.

The boy told them he was hungry. The soldiers gave him water and two rice balls, and said that the boy was fine and talking normally.

The boy told police he reached the building the first night he was missing, local media said.

News of Yamato’s disappearance spread beyond the island nation due to its odd circumstances.

The boy’s father told authorities on May 28 that his son disappeared while picking wild vegetables with his family.

Tanooka later admitted they left him on the side of a mountain road in the woods of Nanae, home to wild bears. It was punishment for throwing stones at passing cars and people.

When his parents returned for him, the boy was gone.

Tanooka suggested the family hesitated to report him missing because of the punishment.

map mount komagatake missing boy

“I thought it might be taken as a domestic violence,” he told TV Asahi.

“I thought it might be taken as a domestic violence,” he told TV Asahi.

The lie may have put search and rescue efforts at a strategic disadvantage, said the Fire Department’s Saito.

“This is a very rare case, specifically with the story changing in the middle,” Saito said earlier this week. “We cannot speak retrospectively, but we would have seen a different development if we had known the story from the beginning.”

For six days, nearly 200 members of search and rescue teams scoured the mountains for signs of life. On Thursday, the operation scaled down.