Japan revises hunting regulations to combat bear attacks; Hunters may be allowed to shoot in urban areas without a police warrant

Courtesy of the Hokkaido Prefectural Police
A brown bear attacks a truck in Nemuro, Hokkaido, April 28.

The first meeting of an expert panel discussing a review of gun hunting regulations to address the problem of bears appearing in urban areas took place on Thursday.

The panel was established by the Ministry of the Environment after a record number of 219 people were attacked by bears in financial year 2023. It will develop a policy on this issue as early as this summer, including a review of the Wildlife Protection, Control and Hunting Act.

When bears appear in urban areas, hunters can now shoot if ordered to do so by police officers. However, sometimes this means a delay in responding to the situation.

“We want hunters to be able to shoot if the situation is right,” the president of the Akita Prefectural Hunting Association said at the meeting.