Saito added that the boy identified himself to the military personnel on the scene as Yamato Tanooka.
Initially, the boy’s parents claimed he became separated from them while they were scavenging for vegetables, however they later admitted that they had left him behind as punishment.
'We have done an unforgivable thing to our child and we have caused a lot of trouble for everyone. I just hope he is safe,' said his father Takayuki Tanooka.
The search saw hundreds of rescuers including police, military personnel and volunteers scouring the area, and as days went hope of finding the boy alive diminished.