Bear Attacks on People Hit Record High in Japan

Courtesy of Shizuoka prefectural government
A bear is seen caught in a trap in Kawazu, Shizuoka Prefecture, on Oct. 20. The animal was later released

Tokyo, Nov. 1 (Jiji Press)—The number of people attacked by bears in Japan between April and October totaled 180, already a record high on a fiscal year basis since the statistics started in fiscal 2006, the Environment Ministry said in a preliminary report Wednesday.

The previous record high was 158 marked in fiscal 2020.

The ministry is calling for maximum vigilance until the bears go into hibernation, due to the poor acorn crop mainly in the Tohoku northeastern Japan region.

Five people have been killed in attacks by bears so far in fiscal 2023, which started in April.

The monthly number of people attacked by bears stood at 15 in August, surging to 38 in September and 71 in October.

By prefecture, Akita had the highest number of victims, at 61, followed by Iwate, at 42, and Fukushima, at 13.

The number of bear attack cases reached 164, already exceeding the previous annual high of 145 logged in fiscal 2010.

Beginning Wednesday, the ministry has dispatched experts to prefectural and municipal governments to help them address bear attacks.