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Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences
Japanese Project 3.11

Thom and Michael


This page will try to outline Japanese Animal Protection Laws and explain what NPO and the government are doing towards helping the animals affected by the Fukushima disaster.

Animal Refuge Kansai

Japan’s animal Protection Law

The animal protection law was legislated in 1973, but in reality was a law full of loopholes, and held absolutely no effect.
However, there was a domestic upsurge of public opinion, and in 1999, a strengthened penal code was included in the legal reform.
This underwent a trial period of five years, and in 2005 this again reached another revision.
Thus, this finally took effect in June 2006.
The next revision is scheduled for 2010.
This revision is mainly to revise the following points;

1. To strengthen the regulation of self-employed handlers.
2. Increasing punitive regulations/ fines.
3. Registering of dangerous animals.
4. Improve the welfare for animals which have been experimented on.

Number One- (the expansion of animal handlers).

This statute which, until now, included self-employed animal handlers, expanded to include dealers without shops (mail-order sales by internet, etc.), pet hotels, training schools, etc. Also, horse riding institutions and agencies were utilized as the focus.
(From the report system to the regulation system)
For the existing regulation, self-employed animal handlers only had to report the creation/ formation of the business. However, this revision has changed the registration system.
According to the introduction of the registration system, in order to do business, dealers must register. Regarding bad dealers; registration and renewal will be declined.
Also, regarding those business owners who have improper registration, and fail to observe these criteria, measures will be taken to arrange the cancellation of registration as well as suspend the business.
It was the obligation of all the dealers to complete the registration by 31st May 2007.
Also, self-employed animal handlers are obliged to have notification of registration.
It is unlawful for dealers not to put up a notice of registration, and those who do not register will be imposed with a fine.
Needless to say, these handlers and internet dealers, etc., who do not maintain these amended institutions are not uncommon.
Beyond these institutions, in the case of doing one’s work, they are obliged to present a sign of registration pinned to their chest, and also, internet dealers who advertise must have a notification sign.
In summary of self-employed animal handlers, because the administrative divisions of Japan are privatised, it can be ascertained whether these handlers formally register.
(The person appointed in charge of animal treatment)
The self-employed animal handler appoints one person in charge of animal treatment at every workplace. Even though this person in charge is the minimum, they must attend a training course each year.
Also, the person in charge is obligated to inform the employees of the shop of the contents of the training.
(Accountability of the point of sales)
At the point of sale, the distributor must explain about the animal. For instance, due to legislated documents they are obligated to explain and agree on the facilities necessary for raising a dog, what kind of exercise is necessary for these kinds of dogs, about castration surgery, and also, if they abandon animals and question them on animal related offences.
These dealers who do not do this are in violation of the law, so please contact the administration.
(Indication of individual data)
The distributor must indicate the information below of each animal:
• Variety
• Gender
• Date of Birth
• Standard body weight at time of maturity, the length and information concerned with size.
• Place of Birth.
(Records of Protection)
The animal distributor must produce a five year record about the trading circumstances of the animals they produce and sell.

Number 2 (Increasing fines)

Protected animals will be made ill due to the ceasing of feeding or give them water. The punitive regulations in the case of abandonment have risen from 300 thousand to 500 thousand yen.
The abandonment of animals is a crime.
If you find abandoned animals, please report it to the police and ask them to investigate.
In reality, they usually search for witnesses and arrest the person connected with the abandonment.
Furthermore, the penal code regarding those who recklessly kill and wound animals (imprisonment and hard labour of up to a year, or up to one million yen) will not change after the revision.

Number 3 (Registering of dangerous animals)

If one raises animals which are designated dangerous by law and considered harmful to people, such as bears and snapping turtles, the permission of the prefectual governor is necessary.
Also, one must put a microchip into these dangerous animals and be able to identify them individually.
In the case of not having permission of rearing, you will face six months’ imprisonment and hard labour, or forced to pay up to a 500,000 yen fine.

Number 4 (Improve the welfare for animals which have been experimented on).

In order to raise the welfare of animals used for animal experimentation, the implementation of the international standard of the ‘3 R’ rule was adopted.

The rules of the ‘3 R’ are:

‘Refinement’: reduction of suffering.
‘Reduction’: Reduce the number used
‘Replacement’: alternative laws (carry out experiments without using animals)
In short, employ a method of as little animals suffering as possible, with as little number of animals experimented on as possible. And if possible, experiment with the use of alternative laws of not using animals.

Things we can do:

• Pet shops manage the animals properly, check or satisfy the criteria, or request advisory guidance of the administration. Points you should check are; feeding and giving water, etc. are being suitably carried out , ensure that they have enough space, preserve sanitation, display the necessary information in a visible place, etc.
• If you are a new animal owner, take a young animal that is need of a real family from a shelter. Claim animals which are going to be put down from health centres, etc.
• Report it to the police if you see mistreatment, not feeding or giving water, unsuitable rearing of animals.
• Investigate internet sales and animal distribution; ascertain whether they display their registration tag. In the event that they do not, report it to the administration.
• If you find discarded animals, report it to the police promptly. Abandoning animals is a crime.
• Gather information from various places, know the state of things, and learn.
In order to improve animal welfare, a shift in each individual’s awareness is essential. Also, the knowledge you have gained, please instruct it to those in your surrounding area.

Michael Simons: I chose to translate this article because it offers a detailed account of the changes and progress that has been made concerning animal welfare laws in Japan. I obtained the article form a web page of one of the major animal rescue organisation, which was instigated and is run by foreigners and volunteers. I found the article important because of the definitions it provides of key terms and regulations.

Laws related to animal protection and preservation

To abandon or mistreat protected animals is a crime. If you violate this, you will be imposed with a fine or imprisonment and hard labour.

Those who have selfishly killed or injured protected animals;

• At least a year in prison or at least a one million yen fine.

Regarding protected animals; people who, without supplying food or water, weakened and mistreated the animal.

• At least a 50,000 yen fine

People who abandoned protected animals.

• At least a 50,000 yen fine.
• Protected animals are animals raised by people (animals which fall under the category of mammals, birds, and reptiles), as well as all of these, which may or may not have a master; cows, horses, pigs, sheep, goats, dogs, cats, domestic rabbits, chickens, domestic pigeons, and ducks.

The definition of animal cruelty, specifically neglect, is mistreatment.

The Ministry of the Environment presented notification concerning article two of the 44th animal protection laws’ definition of animal cruelty.

The definition of animal cruelty, which until now has been vague, has been made clear.
I still think we need to add necessary points, but it is a step forward.

Without supplying water or food, animals will die before your eyes. Until now, the local administration and police said the reason they could not prosecute was because there was no definition of mistreatment, but hereafter, they are able to prosecute.

A hole in the unlawful animal protection law has been filled up.

Concerning necessary examples of instruction on animal rearing. (Examples to consider when there is the possibility of neglect or mistreatment)

2. Self-employed animal handlers, etc.

• Neglecting by mixing the excrement and the food of the animals, in cramped cages. Animals sleeping on their waste.
• Not putting down water every day, or, the water container has algae attached to the inside or unclean.
• Regardless of childhood, supplying food a suitable number of times (for example, only feeding them in the morning and the evening) and thus explaining if there is no problem.
• Excrement piles up, the remains of food are scattered about, not cleaning attentively, and a stench comes from inside the building.
• The animal’s body is remarkably filthy.
• Despite illness and injury, not giving the animal veterinarian care.
• The rearing environment does not suit the animal being raised (including the regulation of temperature and humidity as well). For example, not dealing with the rising temperature of the building interior as the setting sun hits it, etc. Or conversely, when the temperature drops in the winter.
• By raising many large animals in unsanitary environments. Every day, excrement, malted fur, food, empty food cans, and rubbish are scattered around the cage, and there is a stench.
• The animal is raised in cramped cage.
• The animal cannot rest because of loud music within the store or due to excessive illumination.
• Calling discipline training, etc., striking a blow against an animal, violently kicking, etc., and deliberately wounding an animal.
• Petting and walking animals those are in ill health or poor physical condition.
• After giving birth, making the animal breed again without allowing a sufficient amount of time to pass (until the weaning mother has recovered).

Michael Simons: I chose to translate this article because it offers information to suggest that organisations are to trying to increase the awareness of animal welfare and the regulations concerning mistreatment, whilst offering cautionary advice for those who are thinking of buying an animal or have little knowledge of the various regulations.

Kyoritsu Seiyaku Corporation with Fukushima Animal Rescue Centre(an organisation helping with the adoption of animals) has created a page for adopting disaster surviving animals on its website for matching potential foster parents with animals.


(PR TIMES) – Kyoritsu Seiyaku Corporation published release

Kyoritsu Seiyaku Corporation (Head Office: Chiyoda, Tokyo. Managing director: Takai Takaaki) in November 2013 established a foster parent matching site through a veterinary clinic reception called Veterinary Adoption within the newly established Fukushima Animal Rescue Centre and opened it on their disaster pets page.

On the foster parent matching site ‘Veterinary Adoption’ it explains its base concept of “supporting the activity of exchanging the ownership of the cats and dogs that have received sanctuary at this veterinary clinic”. Under the veterinary clinic’s whose reception have accepted this way of thinking, there has been the exchanging of ownership of these dogs and cats that have been given sanctuary to new families. As of March 5th of this year there are 1,564 veterinary clinics that are participating, the registered dogs and cats for this project number at 154 and 78 of these have had their ownership successfully exchanged and this number is steadily increasing.

On March 11th 2011 Veterinary Adoption in reaction to the Eastern Japan Great Earthquake established, for the disaster pets, a new page on their website especially for these pets. This was for the development of the Fukushima Animal Rescue Centre’s (Fukushima Prefecture Veterinarian Assembly, Fukushima Prefecture, Koriyama, Iwaki, formed support organisation) shelter for the disaster pets that had been given sanctuary.

From one month after the earthquake disaster on April 15th 2011, when the Fukushima Animal Rescue Centre was started, until January 2014 the number of dogs and cats that had been given sanctuary were 1, 002 (Dogs: 458, Cats: 544) in the course of time the number of those returned was 316 (Dogs: 157, Cats: 159), the number of those whose ownership was swapped had become 475 (Dog: 258, Cats: 217) but, at this moment in time, there is still close to 150 dogs and cats who are still living in the shelter.

At the shelter, by the group of managing veterinarians working for the Fukushima Animal Rescue Centre, the disaster pets that have been given sanctuary are being taken care of and having their health checked, etc., by these people. The origin of this nature of cooperation is the staff and volunteers, who allow the animals, even in this emergency to eagerly await their new family in good condition.

Kyoritsu Seiyaku, even if it’s a little, wants to continue the exchanging of the ownership of the Fukushima disaster pets, until the last one has been helped in finding a happy household it will continue to support the Veterinary Adoption in the activity of exchanging the ownership of these pets.

The foster parent matching site, Veterinary Adoption:

Original Source:

Thom Cairns: The reason I picked this particular article to translate for English speaking audiences is so that they have more of an awareness of the kind of things that Japan is doing to help these pets affected by the Fukushima disaster. This particular article I felt showed one of the best avenues through which the disaster pets are being saved by people in Japan. While it does seem that it has taken some time to do this, I wanted to translate an article which showed the rescue attempt in a better light than some English articles have made the situation out to be.

Animal Rescue Centre

About the journalist interview with the Ministry of Environment:

On the afternoon of March 7th 2014 at the united journalist meeting with the Ministry of Environment, as well as with the Fukushima Animal Rescue Centre, they talked about the urgent effects of the disaster and about “concerning the Eastern Japan Great Earthquake and the future for the continuation of the rescue operations”.

The contents of the announcement are in the next part. Furthermore, about the embodiment of the information regarding the project, afterwards HP will carry out this act.

*1. The fundamental way of thinking.*
Since the Eastern Japan Great Earthquake around 3 years has passed but, even to this day, there is still a remaining need for assistance in Fukushima. For the sake of this there is a need to handle and resolve this situation at an early stage appropriately. The next project concerning the urgent effects of the disaster with the animal shelters in Iwate prefecture, Miyagi prefecture and Fukushima prefecture is to do with confronting the owners of the pets affected by the disaster. To summarise, we need to devise a plan regarding the rescue operations.

About the finances needed to put the appropriate project in to action, to do with the urgent effects of the disaster on the Fukushima Animal Shelters that have been listed. These funds from the Eastern Japan Great Earthquake that have been donated will be allotted to help these Animal Shelters.

*2. The essential project to be implemented.*

(1)The Miharu shelter in Fukushima Prefecture and the pets they are accommodating in their haven (~Autumn 2014):

1) Will take charge of accepting the previously found animals
2) Will be assigned with assisting the transportation of animals that have had their ownership exchanged.
3) Will take charge, for the time being, in assisting in the care for the raising of these animals (this is a necessary response)
※ The Miharu shelter daily management will be put in to effect by the Fukushima Animal Rescue Centre

(2) In 3 prefectures they will set up temporary housing, etc., for the owners of these pets (At the end of the fiscal year 2016)

1) This will assist in various kinds of animal medical treatment, etc.
2) There will also be varying assistance with pet care.

(3) To do with the increasing population of wild cats and dogs and how to deal with this increase in reproduction in Fukushima’s arduous areas (By the end of the fiscal year and will be considered case by case).

1) Monitoring, etc., shall be sufficiently investigated.
2) In relation to the government, we shall ask for an indirect assistance with the implementing of the activity for protecting and caring for the animals that have been found. (To offer, free of charge, a sterilizing and castrating group to settle this matter)
3) To appropriately deal with this project, including the several problems (that has been mentioned), the Miharu shelter, as a foothold, should be repaired (to prepare for the moving and installing of a medical examination and treatment room)

(4) In relation to the 3 prefectures where the owners of the pets are relying on those who, in any town in the country, have taken in pets to provide sanctuary for them. (At the end of the fiscal year 2016)

1) Take advantage of the home page to look for these animals.
2) Use the homepage to look for previous owners of the pets.
3) We shall provide the transport fees for returning them to their previous owners.

*3. The method of putting this in to effect.*

1) At the time of the urgent effects of the disaster, the Animal Rescue Centre started the Fukushima Animal Rescue Centre. The area of the Animal Rescue Centre (which, previously disbanded at that time, was composed of the local government and the veterinarian assembly) while negotiations are carried out the project will be put in to effect with the use of donated finances that will provide care for the animals and the execution of this plan.

2) While acquiring donators’ understanding and trust; to be able to implement this project to the best of our abilities and to provide a stable environment within the urgent effects of the disaster, the animal rescue centre will invite all those donators who have been affected by the Eastern Japan Great Earthquake along with those who haven’t to entrust unto us a high reputation of management for the execution of this plan, the “Eastern Japan Great Earthquake Aid the Disaster Pets Donation”.

3) Other than the donations used for the care and execution of this, it will also be used concerning the implementation of this plan as well as general affairs and various external handling. While negotiations continue between the Fukushima Animal Rescue Centre and the Animal Rescue Centre, the urgent effects of the disaster will be carried out through a departmental office linked with the Animal Rescue Centre.

A written summary of the care and execution thereof, of the “Eastern Japan Great Earthquake Aid the Disaster Pets Donation”


Article 1: The name given to these donations is the Eastern Japan Great Earthquake Aid the Disaster Pets Donation (Shortened: Aid Donation)


Article 2: Concerning the owners of the pets affected by the Eastern Japan Great Earthquake; the donations received for the care and creation of this project, more than the donator’s intention, while successfully influencing people, will provide the ability to properly take care of these animals. A group related to this will be in negotiations and deeply examine the contents of the project and the goal for this devised plan.

(Relief Funds)

Article 3: “Relief Funds” is something that, through the urgent effects of the disaster, the Animal Rescue Centre has drawn from the contribution for the Eastern Japan Great Earthquake and they will use this to contribute towards the relief effort (At the end of February 2014 the remaining amount will go elsewhere)

(Disaster Pets)

Article 4: The main point of these “Disaster Pets” from the viewpoint of the Ministry of Environment is “The Disaster Animal Rescue Centre will be establishing an example of our main point” which is based upon the household pets; this deals with “those affected by the disaster who are raising animals” as well as “those who are affected by the disaster and have pets that have become strays”

(The project)

Article 5: The Disaster Animal Rescue Centre is to perform the goals put in Article 2. Concerning publishing, these matters of the project will be fixed within a period of time.

(1) Assisting the Fukushima Miharu shelter with the pets that have been given sanctuary (Autumn 2014)
(2) Assisting with the housing in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures for the owners affected by the disaster. (End of the fiscal year 2016)
(3) The prevention of the reproduction of wild dogs and cats around the affected area in Fukushima (End of the fiscal year, with a case by case judgement. Miharu shelter will be the base of operations for this to take effect)
(4) The request for correspondents to search for the previous owners in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures that have had their pets given sanctuary by various towns in the country. (At the end of the fiscal year 2016)

(Relief funds provided for the execution of the caring of the animals, etc.)

Article 6: The person in charge of auditing the relief funds for the caring of the animals will be provided by the Disaster Animal Rescue Centre. The auditing of used funds for the carrying out of this project is something that will have to be negotiated with the Fukushima Animal Rescue Centre (Previously of the local government and veterinarian assembly).

(The announcement of the contents of these activities)

Article 7: The announcement of the progress of the Disaster Animal Rescue Centre in the development of this project and the use of funds will be actively executed by them.

Additional Clause

(The date that these policies come in to effect)

From March 5th 2014 these policies listed in this summary shall come in to effect.

Original Source:

Thom Cairns: The reason I picked this article is due to it being news from the major distributor of funds for the Animal Rescue Centre. This in particular outlines their plans for the future and I thought that it was very important to be able to show what donators money would be going toward. This company as well has been seen in a bad light through articles about its lack of using the money provided by donators and so I wanted to show what they are planning to do in the near future. Whether or not people consider the time they are taking to do this is too long can be left to the reader’s decision.

Additional Links to English articles:

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