Japan Reviews Hunting Regulations to Combat Bear Attacks; Hunters May Be Allowed to Fire in Urban Areas Without Police Order

Courtesy of Hokkaido prefectural police
A brown bear attacks a truck in Nemuro, Hokkaido, on April 28.

An expert panel discussing a review of gun hunting regulations, in a bid to deal with bears that have been appearing in urban areas, held its first meeting Thursday.

The panel was established by the Environment Ministry after a record 219 people were attacked by bears in fiscal 2023. It will compile a policy on the issue, including a revision of the Wildlife Protection, Control and Hunting Management Law, as early as this summer.

When bears appear in urban areas, hunters are currently allowed to fire if police officers give the order. However, this sometimes means a delay in responding to a situation.

“We want hunters to be able to fire if the situation is right,” the president of the Akita Prefecture hunting association said at the meeting.