His parents initially told officials he went missing while gathering food, but they later admitted they'd left him alone in the woods because he was throwing rocks at people and cars.
Authorities considered every possibility throughout the search. Although they didn't believe the boy would've wandered into the forest, they didn't discount that explanation. They also speculated that someone might've picked him up.
The story could have turned out much worse. That area of Japan has had several instances of bear attacks in recent years. Two people were mauled to death on the island in 2010. Another man narrowly survived a bear attack in 2013 by defending himself with pruning shears.
This video includes clips from NHK and TV Asahi and an image from Guilhem Vellut / CC BY 2.0.