More than 150 rescuers and police officers were searching for a second day in mountains on the northern main island of Hokkaido after Yamato Tanooka went missing on Saturday, a police spokesman said.
His parents originally told police Yamato got lost while the family were out walking in the area, a habitat of bears, to pick wild vegetables.
But the parents later admitted they had lied, he said.
“The parents left the boy in the mountains as a punishment,” the spokesman said. “They said they went back to the site immediately but the boy was no longer there.”
The father told a TV Asahi reporter he did not dare admit the truth while requesting a search.