Japan's military on Wednesday joined the search for the seven-year-old boy Yamato Tanooka who went missing in a dense northern forest after his parents abandoned him as a punishment for throwing stones at people and cars.

According to Reuters, 75 members of the Self-Defence Forces (SDF) joined 200 policemen and civilians beating their way through the mountainous, bear-inhabited forest on Hokkaido Island. A local hunter also joined the search for the missing boy after fresh bear tracks were found in the area where he disappeared, the Jiji news agency said. Policemen on horseback were also among the rescuers looking for the boy.

Despite the search operation, no lead could be found with many fearing that Tanooka might not have survived Tuesday night's heavy rainfall in the area where temperatures can reportedly go down to 7 degree Celsius.

Tanooka, who is reportedly without food or water, has been missing since Saturday after his parents abandoned him on a mountain road as punishment for misbehaving, reported the Guardian citing AFP.

The boy's parents had previously told the police Tanooka got lost while they were hiking to gather wild vegetables, but later admitted they were angry and tried to punish him for throwing stones at cars and people.

Takayuki Tanooka, Yamato's father, was quoted Reuters as saying: "We have done an unforgivable thing to our child, and we have caused a lot of trouble for everyone."

Thousands of people took to social media to pray for Yamato's safety. Most of them rebuked the parents for their negligence, stated a Reuters report.

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  • Japanese Self-Defense Force soldiers (R and 2nd R) and police officers search for a 7-year-old boy who went missing on May 28, 2016 after being left behind by his parents, in Nanae town on the northernmost Japanese main island of Hokkaido, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo on June 2, 2016.Reuters
  • Japanese Self-Defense Force soldiers riding motorbikes search for a 7-year-old boy who went missing on May 28, 2016 after being left behind by his parents, in Nanae town on the northernmost Japanese main island of Hokkaido, Japan, in this photo taken by June 1, 2016.Reuters
  • People search for a seven-year-old boy who went missing two days earlier, in Nanae town on the northernmost Japanese main island of Hokkaido, Japan, in this photo taken by May 30, 2016.Reuters
  • People riding horses search for a seven-year-old boy who went missing two days earlier, in Nanae town on the northernmost Japanese main island of Hokkaido, Japan, in this photo taken by May 30, 2016.Reuters