Japan

D
Japan
Recognising animal protection

Recognising animal protection

This theme examines recognition of animal sentience and the importance of animal protection as a societal value within the country, including government support for the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare, prohibition of cruelty and protection for different categories of animals.

D

Formal recognition of animal sentience

There is legislation with partial application

The Act on Welfare and Management of Animals 1973, which has been reported to have been amended recently in 2012 and 2013[1], refers in Chapter V Articles 40(1), 41(2) and 41(3) to “pain and distress” of an animal.

In addition, Article 2 of the Act establishes that “In light of the fact that animals are living beings, no person shall kill, injure, or inflict cruelty on animals without due cause, and every person shall treat animals properly by taking into account their natural habits and giving consideration to the symbiosis between humans and animals.”

 

[1] http://www.japantoday.com/category/lifestyle/view/animal-welfare-in-japa...

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The government has recognised some important elements of animal sentience in the Act on Welfare and Management of Animals 1973, and thus animal protection is derived from understanding that animals have the capacity to feel pain and distress. It is recommended that further elements of sentience based on animal welfare science be introduced into legislation and policy in a way that facilitates the establishment of further avenues of protection. The current status of the legislation has taken a first step, but the government is encouraged to continue evolving this legislation.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The Act on Welfare and Management of Animals 1973 recognises some elements of animal sentience and legislates for some protection for animals, which indicates a willingness to engage with this issue at government level, particularly with respect to companion animals[1], and thus the possibility of improvement.

 

[1] http://www.japantoday.com/category/lifestyle/view/animal-welfare-in-japa...

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There are enforcement mechanisms, consisting of fines and labour, for specific conducts that are related to the recognition of the ability of animals to feel pain and distress. However, these apply only to a list of specified species of animals, all of which are domestic animals (companion and farm animals) (Article 44, Act on Welfare and Management of Animals 1973).

G

Support for the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare

There is no government support

The Japanese government has not yet pledged in principle support for the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW).

Note: The Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare is a proposed formal international acknowledgment of a set of principles giving animal welfare due recognition among governments and the international community. An expression of support for the UDAW demonstrates a government’s commitment to working with the international community to improve animal welfare.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

There is no support for the UDAW. Support for the UDAW would be a first step into integrating animal protection considerations into different discussion tables, becoming a soft law source for decision makers interested in improving animal protection in the country.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

It is considered that there may not be significant barriers with respect to support in principle for the UDAW in view of growing interest and support for companion animal welfare in the country. However, there may be socio-cultural barriers to introducing measures to protect the welfare of free-living and captive wild animals.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There is no policy or legislation relevant to this indicator.

C

Laws against causing animal suffering

There is legislation

The purpose of the Act on Welfare and Management of Animals 1973 is stated as to engender a spirit for animal welfare among citizens and contribute to the development of a respect for life and sentiments of amity and peace by providing for the prevention of cruelty to animals, the proper handling of animals and other matters concerning animal welfare, as well as to prevent animals from causing an infringement on the life, body or property of humans by providing for matters concerning the management of animals (Article 1).

Article 2 of the Act requires that, in light of the fact that animals are living beings, no person shall kill, injure, or inflict cruelty on animals without due cause, and every person shall treat animals properly by taking into account their natural habits and giving consideration to the symbiosis between humans and animals.

Article 7(1) creates a duty of care in requiring that owners and keepers shall endeavour to maintain the health and safety of the animal by caring for and keeping the animal in a proper manner according to its species and behaviour. It is reported that amendments in 2012 include a further duty of care to maintain the environment and health of animals and feed and water them properly.[1]

Article 5(1) of the Act provides that the Minister shall formulate basic guidelines for comprehensively promoting measures on the welfare and management of animals, although it is not clear whether this has been done. Article 7(4) of the Act provides that the Minister may, after consultation with the heads of the relevant administrative organs, formulate standards to be complied with regarding the care and keeping of animals. Article 9 provides that a local government may, pursuant to the provisions of an ordinance, provide guidance to owners and possessors of animals and take any other necessary measures concerning the care and keeping of animals, so as to maintain the health and safety of animals and ensure that animals do not cause trouble to humans.

 

[1] http://www.alive-net.net/english/en-law/201208awactpoint.html

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The Act on Welfare and Management of Animals 1973 sets out methods for government to engage with the public on the matters set out in the legislation, which should assist with bringing animal welfare to public attention in the country.

Although the existing legislation is positive in prohibiting the infliction of cruelty and creating a duty of care, these provisions are not detailed. In addition, the related enforcement mechanisms apply only to a specific list of species consisting of domestic farm and companion animals and owned mammals, birds and reptiles, thus leaving no enforcement mechanisms for the infliction of cruelty to free-living wild animals.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The scope of the existing legislation demonstrates a desire by the government to promote animal welfare and educate the public in treating animals humanely. However it is unclear where the financial resources come from to implement this and how much money is budgeted for this aim due to the single annual budget principle.

The structure of the existing legislation also presents a potential barrier to improvement as it restricts enforcement mechanisms to a limited list of domestic species of animals.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There are enforcement mechanisms relating only to a defined list of “protected animals”, which are cattle, horses, pigs, sheep, goats, dogs, cats, domestic rabbits, chickens, domestic pigeons and domestic ducks, or other animals which have an owner and are mammals, birds or reptiles (Article 44, Act on Welfare and Management of Animals).

In relation to these animals, killing or injuring an animal is punishable with fines or imprisonment of up to one year. Also in relation to these animals, cruelty of causing debilitation by discontinuing feeding or watering without due reason, or abandonment, is punishable by fines.

Article 33 provides that a prefectural governor may request a specified animal caretaker to make reports on the status of specified animal facilities, the method for the management of the specified animals handled and other necessary matters, or have prefectural officials enter the places where the specified animal facilities of said specified animal caretaker are established or other relevant places and inspect the specified animal facilities or other properties. Article 34 states that a local government may, pursuant to the provisions of an ordinance, establish “officials in charge of animal welfare” to perform entry and inspection and other work related to the welfare and management of animals. This person should be an official of the local government who has expert knowledge on the proper care and keeping of animals, such as a vet.

Standards and guidance produced under Articles 5, 7 and 9 of the Act would also assist in encouraging compliance with the provisions of the Act.

D

Protecting animals used in farming

There is legislation with partial application

The anti-cruelty and duty of care provisions in Articles 2 and 7(1) of the Act on Welfare and Management of Animals 1973 apply to this category of animals.

Other than being listed in the category of “protected animals” giving rise to criminal offences for cruel treatment under Article 44 of the Act, there is no content in the Act to specifically address the welfare needs of animals used in farming. Indeed animals used in livestock farming are excluded from the provisions of Chapter 3 Section 2, Regulations on Animal Handling Businesses.

In relation to slaughter, Article 40 provides that in the case where an animal must be destroyed, a method that minimises as much as possible the pain and distress to the animal shall be used and that the Minister of the Environment may provide guidance with regard to the method.

Article 7(4) of the Act provides that the Minister may, after consultation with the heads of the relevant administrative organs, formulate standards to be complied with regarding the care and keeping of animals.

Guidance produced under the Act includes the Guideline for Rearing Industrial Animals (Notification No. 22 of 1987, produced by the Prime Minister’s Office in collaboration with the Japan Livestock Technology Association and supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry),[1] which is a guide on how to treat farm animals and includes recommendations on topics including hygiene at farms, avoiding animal abuse and transporting animals;[2] and the Guideline for Destroying Method of Animals (Notification No. 40 of 1995 by the Prime Minister’s Office[3]), which gives guidelines on slaughter. However, these guidelines do not appear to have formal legal status or enforcement mechanisms.

 

[1] http://jlta.lin.gr.jp/report/animalwelfare/

[2] http://www.env.go.jp/hourei/syousai.php?id=18000113

[3] http://www.env.go.jp/nature/dobutsu/aigo/2_data/laws/shobun.pdf

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The general anti-cruelty provisions of the Act on Welfare and Management of Animals 1973, including enforcement mechanisms, apply to farm animals (except fish) and, in addition, some guidelines on farm animals have been produced.

Article 39 discusses the presence of regional councils made up of representatives from animal welfare non-profit corporations, veterinarian organisations and any other organisations working to disseminate and raise awareness regarding the welfare and proper care of animals. These councils would aid the appointment of animal welfare promoters regionally and support their activities.

The Guideline for Rearing Industrial Animals does not give any concrete instruction and there is no formal inspection or enforcement system to check whether farmers follow the guideline.

The government is encouraged to include specific legal provisions relating to the husbandry, transport and slaughter of farm animals from an animal welfare perspective and with specific enforcement capability. This would further disseminate knowledge of animal welfare to the livestock sector and could potentially improve a huge number of animal lives.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

It is clear that the government wishes to promote animal welfare and educate the public in treating animals humanely, but because of the government’s single annual budget principle it is unclear where the financial resources come from to implement this and how much money is budgeted for this aim. For the local animal welfare promotion plans, for example, it is not clear who within local government should be involved in implementing these plans, and what training they would be given to implement the plans effectively. It is also unclear who is responsible for the coordination and funding of the national and local governments’ dissemination and awareness raising with regard to the welfare and proper care of animals through educational activities, publicity activities and other similar activities at schools, communities and homes. These activities do not appear to be mandatory and in recent years there has been some unusual expenditure resulting from the 2011 earthquake, which may have necessitated some reallocation of funds. It therefore appears that there may be financial barriers to improvement.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

Killing or injuring a farm animal is punishable with fines or imprisonment of up to one year. Cruelty of causing debilitation by discontinuing feeding or watering without due reason, or abandonment, is punishable by fines.

However, in relation to the more specific detailed provisions contained in the Minister’s Guidelines, there appear to be no enforcement mechanisms.

D

Protecting animals in captivity

There is legislation with partial application

The anti-cruelty and duty of care provisions in Articles 2 and 7(1) of the Act on Welfare and Management of Animals 1973 apply to this category of animals, except fish.

Other than being listed in the category of “protected animals” giving rise to criminal offences for cruel treatment under Article 44 of the Act, there is no content in the Act specifically addressing the welfare needs of wild animals that are kept in captivity.

Chapter 3 Section 2 of the Act describes Regulations on Animal Handling Businesses, which includes businesses that train or exhibit animals, and requires that these are registered with the regional governor. Registration may be rejected if facilities cannot provide for the health and safety of animals.

It is reported that there are also guidelines dating from 1976: The Standards Relating to the Keeping and Custody of Animals for Exhibition,[1] although it is not clear to what extent these contain welfare-related considerations.

 

[1] http://www.oie.int/doc/ged/D8882.PDF

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

There is no significant evidence of Japanese legislation or policy acknowledging the welfare challenges that can result from keeping animals in captivity. The general animal protection legislation includes no specific provisions for this category of animals, and while the standards do go beyond this and establish general requirements for adequate food, water, shelter, exercise and disease control, there is no evidence that these standards are mandatory or that any enforcement mechanism exists to encourage compliance.

There has been international concern about the welfare of animals in zoos in the country, particularly with respect to bear parks, in which animals are confined in poor, quality environments and are used for circus-like shows.[1] The keeping of cetaceans in captivity is permitted and there is international concern about the taking of bottle-nose dolphins from the wild for use in national and international aquaria.[2]

 

[1] http://www.wildwelfare.org/#!japan/ccma

[2] http://uk.whales.org/blog/courtneyvail/2014/08/waza-and-jaza-to-meet-in-...

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The operation of the registration system in Chapter 3 Section 2 of the Act on Welfare and Management of Animals 1973 is devolved to regional prefectures, without specific detail on how this is to operate and whether there are to be oversight mechanisms. This creates a structural barrier to improvement. Socio-cultural attitudes regarding the use of wild animals for entertainment provide significant barriers to progress.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

Killing or injuring an owned animal is punishable with fines or imprisonment of up to one year. Cruelty of causing debilitation by discontinuing feeding or watering without due reason, or abandonment, is punishable by fines.

However, in relation to the more specific detailed provisions contained in the Standards, there appear to be no enforcement mechanisms.

C

Protecting companion animals

There is legislation

The anti-cruelty and duty of care provisions in Articles 2 and 7(1) of the Act on Welfare and Management of Animals 1973 apply to this category of animals, except fish.

The Act also contains some provisions on responsible pet ownership. Article 38 provides that prefectural governors may appoint animal welfare promoters who have enthusiasm and knowledge regarding the promotion of the welfare of such animals as dogs and cats in their region. The role of the animal welfare promoter is to deepen the understanding of residents regarding the importance of the welfare and proper care of such animals as dogs and cats, to give advice on spaying and neutering dogs and cats, to provide adoption services or any other necessary assistance on request, and to cooperate with the national and regional government in promoting the welfare and proper care of animals such as dogs and cats. There is a requirement under Article 36 for anyone who finds a diseased, injured or dead dog or cat in a public place to endeavour to notify promptly the owner or the prefectural governor. Article 37 requires owners to have their dogs and cats neutered if there is a risk that they would breed freely and that it would be difficult to give the offspring and opportunity to receive proper care.

Article 35 required prefectures to take custody of cats and dogs if requested by their owners or in those cases in which the owner is not known. It is reported that this has been amended in September 2012 to allow government shelters to turn away surrenders and to oblige animal owners to take full responsibility for taking care of their animals until the end of the animals’ lives.[1] 

The legislation does not appear to prohibit or restrict culling or destruction of animals for the purpose of stray population control; however Article 40 should apply in such circumstances, requiring that a method that minimises pain and distress as much as possible is used.

There are media reports that since 2012, animals can only be displayed in pet shops from 8am to 8pm.[2] It also appears that 2012 revisions to the Act on Welfare and Management of Animals included detailed provisions regulating pet shops, including requiring that sellers establish a means of taking care of animals that are not sold until the natural end of their lives, although no official evidence was found of this during the preparation of this report.

 

[1] http://www.alive-net.net/english/en-law/201208awactpoint.html

[2] http://www.letsjapan.markmode.com/index.php/2012/06/19/pet-shops-cant-display-dogs-cats-after-8-pm-cat-cafes-ok-until-1000/

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The appointment of regional animal welfare promoters should assist in making the welfare of this category of animals a mainstream concern of society. However the Act on Welfare and Management of Animals 1973 does not provide for remuneration of these individuals; it is not clear how these posts are to be funded.

Article 39 further discusses the presence of regional councils made up of representatives from animal welfare non-profit corporations, veterinarian organisations and any other organisations working to disseminate and raise awareness regarding the welfare and proper care of animals. These councils would aid the appointment of animal welfare promoters regionally and support their activities. However the establishment of such councils is not mandatory.

The positive content of some of the provisions of the Act relating in particular to dogs and cats reflect the growth in pet-keeping in the country, which has sparked a considerable pet industry.[1] However, small and young dogs are preferred[2], which has led to problems associated with surrender and abandonment of unwanted pets and of unsold animals by breeders.[3] There are reports of the widespread use of inhumane methods of killing abandoned and stray dogs and cats, despite the prohibition on this under Article 44 of the Act.[4] Despite the positive intention of the reported amendment to require owners to take responsibility for care of their animals until the end of the animals’ lives,[5] there may be welfare problems associated with shelters turning away those who no longer wish to keep their pets, as this could potentially result in issues such as abandonment.

It therefore appears that the current legislation is not fully effective to make the welfare of this category of animals a mainstream concern of society.

 

[1] http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2012/04/17/reference/pampered-pets/#.VA...

[2] http://www.euromonitor.com/pet-care-in-japan/report

[3] http://www.japantoday.com/category/lifestyle/view/animal-welfare-in-japa...

[4] http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/feb/25/japan-stray-animal-death-trucks;

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2013/02/19/issues/millions-of-dogs-cats-coddled-200000-gassed-each-year-in-pet-mad-japan/#.U9keQo10xD8

[5] http://www.alive-net.net/english/en-law/201208awactpoint.html

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

Current attitudes towards companion animals and accepted practices relating to population control appear to present significant barriers to improvement in this area. However the existence of relevant provisions in legislation, and the government’s attempt to address this in recent legislative changes, are positive signs that improvement may be possible.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

Killing or injuring a companion animal is punishable with fines or imprisonment of up to one year. Cruelty of causing debilitation by discontinuing feeding or watering without due reason, or abandonment, is punishable by fines.

There are no apparent enforcement mechanisms for breach of the other provisions of the Act on Welfare and Management of Animals 1973, or for breach of the Standards for the Keeping and Custody of Dogs and Cats.

D

Protecting animals used for draught and recreation

There is legislation with partial application

The anti-cruelty and duty of care provisions in Articles 2 and 7(1) of the Act on Welfare and Management of Animals 1973 apply to this category of animals, except fish.

Other than being listed in the category of “protected animals” giving rise to criminal offences for cruel treatment under Article 44 of the Act, there is no content in the Act specifically addressing the welfare needs of animals used for draught or recreational purposes.

Chapter 3 Section 2 of the Act describes Regulations on Animal Handling Businesses, which includes businesses that train or exhibit animals, and requires that these are registered with the regional governor. Registration may be rejected if facilities cannot provide for the health and safety of animals.

It is reported that there are also guidelines dating from 1976: The Standards Relating to the Keeping and Custody of Animals for Exhibition,[1] although it is not known whether these include welfare-related considerations.

 

[1] http://www.oie.int/doc/ged/D8882.PDF

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

Current legislation and official guidance does not acknowledge the ways in which the use of animals in the entertainment industry or for draught purposes has the potential to compromise animal welfare. Wild animals continue to be used in circuses in the country causing welfare concerns.[1] The breeding of bears in bear parks so that the public may interact with and feed young bears, and the use of bears in circus-like shows causes national and international welfare concerns.[2] The widespread keeping of cetaceans in captivity and their use in shows also raises welfare concerns.[3]

 

[1] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2239043/Fury-rare-white-lion-cub...

[2] http://www.wildwelfare.org/#!japan/ccma

[3] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1293379/Shocking-moment-dolphin-...

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

General acceptance by society of the use of animals for entertainment purposes may present a significant barrier to improvement in this area.

The operation of the registration system in Chapter 3 Section 2 is devolved to regional prefectures, without specific detail on how this is to operate and whether there are to be oversight mechanisms. This creates a structural barrier to improvement.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

Killing or injuring an owned animal is punishable with fines or imprisonment of up to one year. Cruelty of causing debilitation by discontinuing feeding or watering without due reason, or abandonment, is punishable by fines.

However, in relation to the more specific detailed provisions contained in the Standards, there appear to be no enforcement mechanisms.

C

Protecting animals used in scientific research

There is legislation

The anti-cruelty and duty of care provisions in Articles 2 and 7(1) of the Act on Welfare and Management of Animals 1973 appear to apply to this category of animals, except fish.

The Act also contains some measures specifically addressing welfare issues associated with the use of animals in research. Article 41 provides that for animals used in education, testing and research or the manufacture of biological preparations, or for any other scientific use, consideration shall be given to whether there is an alternative method that can be used instead of animals and reducing the number of animals provided for such use as much as possible, within the extent that the purpose of the scientific use can be attained. Methods that minimise pain and distress as much as possible must be used, within the limit necessary for such use.

These requirements therefore incorporate some of the principles of the Three Rs.

If it is unlikely that an animal will recover after being used in an experiment, the animal is required to be killed by a method that minimises pain and distress as much as possible.

The Minister of the Environment has power to prescribe standards to be complied with regarding methods to minimise pain and distress and use of alternatives to animals in experiments.

The government has produced a large number of guidance documents relating to the use of animals in scientific research. These include Fundamental Guidelines for Proper Conduct of Animal Experiments and Related Activities in Academic Research Institutions (Notification No. 71 of 2006.06.01 by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology), which gives guidelines to be used to establish in-house regulations at each institution conducting animal studies. These guidelines cover mammals, birds and reptiles and refer to the Three Rs principles of refinement, replacement and reduction, but are not detailed. More extensive detail is found in the Guidelines for Proper Conduct of Animal Experiments (Notification 2006.06.01 by the Science Council of Japan), which serves as reference material for when research institutions compile their own specifications for animal experimentation, and which includes some animal welfare related considerations such as the aim of minimising stress as much as possible and the establishment of internal review committees.

There are some further guidelines regarding animals in experiments including the following: Notification No. 88 of 2006 by the Ministry of the Environment relating to the Care and Management of Laboratory Animals and Relief of Pain; Basic Guidelines on Humane Treatment and Management of Animals (Notification No. 140 of 2006), Guidelines on Methods of Sacrificing Animals (Notification No. 40 of 1995 by the Prime Minister’s Office), The Proposed Basic Guidelines on Animal Experimentation in Research Laboratories (Notification of 2006 by MEXT), and Standards Relating to the Care and Management of Laboratory Animals and Relief of Pain (Notice No. 88 of 2006.04.28 by the Ministry of the Environment). These guidelines and standards appear to have non-binding guidance status.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

It is positive that the government has produced a number of guidelines and standards relating specifically to the care and welfare of animals used in scientific research, and that the principles of the Three Rs are included. However the legally binding provisions under the Act on Welfare and Management of Animals are not detailed and the requirements of Article 41 of that Act appear not to have enforcement mechanisms.

It appears that a system of voluntary self-regulation exists for animal experimentation, which could mean that animal welfare is satisfactory in some institutions but not in others. A system that standardises the procedures for animal experimentation, taking animal welfare into account, would better protect welfare.

The country has not yet followed international trends by banning the testing of cosmetics on animals but there is some evidence of growing corporate and public awareness on the issue.[1]

 

[1] http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2014/06/02/issues/japan-urged-make...

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The creation of an animal experiments committee and a system of inspections could help to strengthen animal welfare and help to enforce the Act.

Notification 2006.06.01 by Science Council of Japan states that Japan favours the establishment of a system based on Japanese customs. These customs may not be the most favourable for animal welfare, and the development of one set of modern government guidelines outlining the use of animals in experiments could help to standardise the design and implementation of animal research in Japan. The notification also recommends that each institution should formulate voluntary in-house regulations for proper scientific conduct of animal experiments based on the guidelines. There is no mechanism for the committees established under that Notification to enforce their recommendations if they are not followed, and the committees’ members are researchers conducting experiments in the facilities. It would be beneficial to include representatives from an animal welfare organisation or scientists who are experts in alternatives to animal experimentation.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

Killing or injuring an owned animal is punishable with fines or imprisonment of up to one year. Cruelty of causing debilitation by discontinuing feeding or watering without due reason, or abandonment, is punishable by fines. These provisions would be subject to the authorised use of animals for experiments under Article 41 of the Act on Welfare and Management of Animals 1973.

However, in relation to the more specific detailed provisions contained in the Standards, and in relation to the provisions of Article 41 of the Act specifically relating to this use of animals, there appear to be no enforcement mechanisms.

There appears to be no system of inspection for laboratories or any formal mechanism to achieve compliance with the relevant legislation and guidance.

E

Protecting the welfare of wild animals

There is legislation with partial application

There is no specific mention of wild animals in the Act on Welfare and Management of Animals 1973 and, except when captive, they also fall outside the scope of the anti-cruelty provisions of Article 44 of the Act.

The purpose of Act No. 32 of 1918, the Wildlife Protection and Proper Hunting Act, is to protect birds and mammals, to increase populations of birds and mammals, and to control pests through the implementation of wildlife protection projects and hunting controls. The Director-General of the Environment Agency shall specify “game species”, which are the only species that may be hunted lawfully. Hunting is prohibited in areas designated by the Director-General of the Agency, prefectural governors or other bodies, which includes permanent or temporary wildlife protection areas, public roads and parks. Some restrictions exist on the hunting period and on hunting methods.

Act No. 75 of 1992 on the Conservation of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora states that its purpose is to ensure the conservation of endangered species of wild fauna and flora and contribute to the conservation of natural surroundings for present and future generations. Act No. 97 of 2003 on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biological Diversity through Regulations on the Use of Living Modified Organisms states in Article 4 (5) that it aims to preserve species or populations of wild fauna.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The anti-cruelty provisions of the Act on Welfare and Management of Animals 1973 cover wild animals only when they are in captivity. Other relevant legislation appears to focus on the conservation of specific species of wild animals and, for those species that are covered, the emphasis is on protection of the group rather than on the welfare of individual animals.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

There are concerns about practices involving wild animals in Japan that are inhumane and often not supported by other countries. For example, the government has been supportive of the global moratorium on commercial whaling being lifted since its conception in 1986[1] and as at 2013 was still permitting whaling annually under the auspices of science.[2] In March 2014 the United Nations International Court of Justice ruled that the whaling taking place in the Antarctic was not for scientific research and that the Japanese government should withdraw existing licences for whaling in the Antarctic and refrain from issuing new ones.[3] The government has accepted the decision, but retains its whaling programme in the North Pacific. Japan has a history of trade in ivory and still has consumer demand for it today.[4]

Bear farming has been very common in Japan and the keeping of bears in bear parks for public entertainment causes national and international welfare concerns.[5]

Japan’s annual hunt of dolphins in the coastal town of Taiji is now a well-documented event, [6] which is a barrier to improving animal welfare. Reports have also suggested that the town of Taiji may be planning to open a marine park, offering swimming with dolphins and selling dolphin meat, rising further barriers to improving animal welfare in the country.[7]

 

[1] Harris, A.W. (2005). The Best Scientific Evidence Available: The Whaling Moratorium and Divergent Interpretations of Science. William & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review 29 (2) 4. 375-450

[2] http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/oct/31/japan-hunts-dolphins-whales-extinction

[3] http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/148/18162.pdf

[4] Nishihara, T. (2012). Demand for forest elephant ivory in Japan. Pachyderm, No. 52: 55-65

[5] http://www.wildwelfare.org/#!japan/ccma

[6] http://www.examiner.com/article/mass-dolphin-killing-season-begins-today-japan

[7] http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/10/08/japanese-dolphin-slaughter-town-taiji-marine-park-eat-swim-mammals_n_4062193.html

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There do not appear to be any enforceable relevant welfare-related provisions in Act No. 75 of 1992 and Act No. 97 of 2003.

Governance structures and systems

Governance structures and systems

This theme examines government commitment to improving animal protection. This includes whether there is allocation of responsibility, accountability and resources within government.

B

Government accountability for animal welfare

There is legislation

Article 3 of the Act on Welfare and Management of Animals provides that the national and local governments shall endeavour to achieve dissemination and awareness-raising with regard to the welfare and proper care of animals in coordination with each other through educational activities, publicity activities and other similar activities at schools, communities and homes. Article 4 of the Act describes a “Be Kind to Animals Week”, which is established in order to enhance the interest and understanding of citizens in general concerning the welfare and proper care of animals, which are living beings. During this week, the national and local governments shall endeavour to implement events appropriate for the purpose of the campaign. Activity during this week is reported on the Ministry’s website.[1]

There are several mentions of the role of the Minister of the Environment, such as formulating basic guidelines for comprehensively promoting measures on the welfare and management of animals (Article 5) and consulting with the heads of the relevant administrative organs if they are changed. The Minister of the Environment may, after consultation with the heads of the relevant administrative organs, formulate standards to be complied with regarding the care and keeping of animals.

Responsibility is also devolved to local governments, who are responsible for formulating a plan to promote measures for the welfare and management of animals in their area, registering animal handling businesses in their area, appointing animal welfare promoters and dealing with animal welfare issues in their prefecture.

Article 6 defines an animal welfare and management promotion plan, which is to be formulated by each region and which should contain basic policy on measures to be implemented with regard to the welfare and management of animals, matters concerning measures for achieving the proper care and keeping of animals, matters concerning dissemination and awareness raising with regard to the welfare and management of animals, matters concerning the establishment of a necessary framework for implementing measures for the welfare and management of animals (including securing the cooperation of such entities as the national government, relevant local governments and private bodies) and any other necessary matters concerning the promotion of measures for the welfare and management of animals.

The Act therefore establishes responsibility for animal welfare in the Ministry of the Environment and in effect puts animal welfare responsibilities on a directorate of animal welfare. Articles 5 and 6 define plans by the Environment Minister to be implemented by local government.[2]

However, as a result of the single annual budget principle it is difficult to see where the funds come from for the local animal welfare promotion plans. In spite of this, the local government can use “tax allocations to local government” in relation to animal welfare.

The Ministry of the Environment provides a public list of the local government sections which are responsible for animal welfare.[3]

It is unclear whether these activities are mandatory requirements for local governments: they are to endeavour to carry out dissemination and awareness-raising of animal welfare, and no targets or activities are specified.

 

[1] http://www.env.go.jp/press/press.php?serial=17103

[2] https://www.env.go.jp/nature/dobutsu/aigo/2_data/laws/guideline_h25.pdf

[3] https://www.env.go.jp/nature/dobutsu/aigo/3_contact/index.html

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

Animal welfare is an independent issue, recognised by legislation as such for government management and regulation. This recognition allows animal welfare issues to be discussed at Ministerial level. However, there appears to be no full-time dedicated board involving officials from other areas of government to implement the Act on Welfare and Management of Animals; although the Minister of the Environment is responsible at a central government level for several aspects of the Act, there are no other officials mentioned as having involvement from other ministries, so although there may be informal communication between ministries there is no formal structure to ensure that this takes place.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

Although the legislation would appear to indicate that funds come from local government budgets, it is unclear whether the relevant people employed to do so have any working knowledge of animal welfare or receive any training to help them carry out their role. There is no evidence found of specific resources for improving animal protection. Dissemination of some responsibilities to local government level may also provide a barrier to the uniform application of policy and legislation.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

Local government is required by law to implement the provisions of the Act including raising awareness of animal welfare issues, thus allowing for public challenge in the event that the relevant local government divisions do not comply with these requirements.

Animal welfare standards

Animal welfare standards

This theme examines whether the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)’s animal welfare standards have been incorporated into law or policy, the extent of engagement with the OIE on animal welfare issues, and whether the government publishes reports on progress in improving animal welfare.

E

Engagement with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)

Policy is being discussed or developed

There are several OIE reference laboratories in Japan that conduct research and engage with the OIE on various areas of animal health and disease at ad hoc groups.[1] Japan also reports to the OIE on animal diseases. The Japan Livestock Technology Association drafted the guidelines for care and handling of livestock animals with consideration for the concept of animal welfare, supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, and these guidelines are consistent with the OIE decisions. However beyond this consideration there does not appear to be much engagement with the OIE specifically on the subject of animal welfare.

 

[1] http://www.oie.int/en/for-the-media/press-releases/detail/article/oie-expert-ad-hoc-group-reviews-atypical-bse-cases-reported-by-japan-and-italy/

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

Improving animal health contributes to improving animal welfare, therefore the current engagement on animal health issues is positive. However, further efforts to engage with the OIE on the topic of animal welfare would display desire to achieve animal welfare standards in line with good international standards, and would show a commitment to improving animal welfare generally in Japan. The government is encouraged to build on the existing engagement with the OIE to address animal welfare concerns in the country.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

Engagement with the OIE on the subject of animal welfare does not appear to be a priority at present. However the existing relationship in the area of animal health presents an opportunity for improvement.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There are no enforcement mechanisms relevant to this indicator.

D

OIE animal welfare standards

There is legislation with partial application

The government has incorporated some of the OIE’s animal welfare standards and principles into legislation, in particular into the provisions of the Act on Welfare and Management of Animals 1973. However, relevant legislation does not contain provisions on transporting animals by air, land or sea, on killing of animals for disease control, or on stray population control. Some of these are dealt with in guidance documents, as is the use of animals in experiments and education; however, this is a voluntary, self-regulated area of policy. Article 40 requires that, where an animal must be destroyed, a method that minimises as much as possible the pain and distress to the animal shall be used and that the Minister of the Environment may provide guidance with regard to the method.

Notification No. 22 of 1987 by the Prime Minister’s Office, Guideline for Rearing Industrial Animals, is secondary legislation produced under the Act on Welfare and Management of Animals. This is a guide on how to treat farm animals and has recommendations covering topics including hygiene at farms, avoiding animal abuse and transporting animals, which are consistent with OIE decisions.[1]

 

[1] http://www.env.go.jp/hourei/syousai.php?id=18000113

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The Minister of the Environment is responsible for implementation of the Act on Welfare and Management of Animals 1973, together with local government. However there are no formal boards to implement animal welfare policy and transpose the OIE’s standards and principles, and seemingly animal welfare is not formally considered by other government ministries when developing policy. Full transposition of the OIE’s standards and guiding principles into legislation has not been done and is not currently taking place in Japan, including in recent amendments to the Act on Welfare and Management of Animals 1973.[1]

 

[1] http://www.alive-net.net/english/en-law/201208awactpoint.html

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

It does not appear that implementation of the OIE animal welfare standards is an issue of priority for the government, possibly because of socio-cultural attitudes towards the use of animals or because of a prioritisation of animal health issues. However the recent attempt by the government to make improvements to the animal welfare legislation suggests that progress could be possible in the future.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There are enforcement mechanisms for those of the OIE’s standards and principles that are covered by the content of existing legislation (in particular the Act on Welfare and Management of Animals 1973).

D

Reporting on progress

There is policy

The Ministry of the Environment publishes an annual activity report,[1] with a small section covering animal welfare. The Ministry also publishes statistics and material specifically addressing animal welfare on its website. In addition, the government reports to the OIE on avian influenza and other animal diseases and discloses information of the councils held by the Ministry of the Environment.[2]

 

[1] For example, http://www.env.go.jp/policy/hakusyo/h25/index.html

[2] https://www.env.go.jp/nature/dobutsu/aigo/2_data/pamph.html

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The introduction of formal requirements for regular reporting specifically dealing with the improvement of standards of animal welfare in Japan could be an important way to increase transparency and display that this is an issue of importance to the government and society. The government is encouraged to develop a formal animal welfare strategy with identified goals against which reporting can take place.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The Ministry of the Environment’s existing annual report comments on animal welfare issues suggest that the government is prepared to address reporting in this area and that improvement through the identification and pursuit of specified goals should be possible.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There is no legislation or formal policy, and therefore no enforcement mechanism, requiring publication of government reports on animal welfare.

Providing humane education

Providing humane education

This theme examines whether issues of animal care and protection are included in the national education system at primary and secondary level, and comments on whether animal welfare issues such as humane handling form part of veterinary medicine education.

E

Education on animal care and protection

There is legislation with partial application

The Basic Law of Education states that one objective of education is to “foster an attitude to respect life, care for nature, and contribute to the protection of the environment”.[1]

The 1958 Report of the Curriculum Council: Establishment of Special Time of Moral Education suggested that a period for moral education should be established formally. The principle was that moral education should be closely aligned with other subject lessons, which will supplement, enrich and integrate its own instruction. This became the prototype for the present formal moral education in Japan. Here there were four pillars of moral education practice and content in formal school education: 1) basic lifestyle and behaviour; 2) moral mentality and judgement; 3) expansion of personality and creative lifestyle; and 4) ethical attitude and practical motivation as a member of the nation and society. The Central Council for Education illustrated “the Ideal Japanese” with four special expectations of the Japanese person: as an individual, as a family member, as a member of society, and as a citizen/national.[2] The White Paper, Educational Standards in Japan 1965, chapter 4 (1) moral education in Japan, contains a section outlining the contents of moral instruction in elementary schools. Part 2 contains contents mainly related to “moral sentiment and moral judgement: … to take good care of animals and plants; to have a pure mind”.[3]

The Act on Welfare and Management of Animals, Article 3 (Dissemination and Awareness Raising)

states that both the national and local governments shall, in accordance with the purpose of the Act, endeavour to achieve dissemination and awareness raising with regard to the welfare and proper care of animals in coordination with each other through educational activities, publicity activities and other similar activities at schools, communities and homes.

Article 38 of the Act describes “animal welfare promoters” as people with enthusiasm and knowledge regarding the promotion of the welfare of such animals as dogs and cats in the region, who are made responsible for deepening the understanding of residents regarding the importance of welfare and proper care of such animals as dogs and cats, for giving advice on spaying/neutering pets, for providing adoption services and other care assistance, and for assisting the national or regional government in promoting the welfare and proper care of such animals as dogs and cats.

 

[1] http://www.mext.go.jp/english/lawandplan/1303462.htm

[2] http://www.nier.go.jp/English/educationjapan/pdf/201303MED.pdf

[3] http://www.mext.go.jp/b_menu/hakusho/html/hpae196501/hpae196501_2_031.html

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

It appears that it is not mandatory to teach moral education and this is not part of the curriculum past the 9th Grade. Therefore, in order to improve understanding of animal welfare, it may be beneficial to introduce an element of animal-related education in all stages of the curriculum and integrate moral education into all subject areas.

The government states its intention to try and disseminate awareness of animal welfare via educational activities, including at schools, in the Act on Welfare and Management of Animals.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

It could help to improve understanding of animal welfare throughout society if the government were to set goals or targets for animal welfare educational activities in schools. The government has stated an intention to endeavour to do so, but if this is not achieved then animal welfare will not be improved. A mandatory requirement would be stronger.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There appear to be no legal mandates for the inclusion of moral education in school curricula.

The requirement of local government to endeavour to raise awareness and disseminate knowledge about animal welfare could be subject to public challenge if the government division concerned fails to do so.

Promoting communication and awareness

Promoting communication and awareness

This theme examines whether there is government consultation and engagement with relevant stakeholders on animal protection issues, such as the development of new legislation and policy and the licensing of scientific research using animals.

B

Consultation with stakeholders

There is legislation

Article 39 of the Act on Welfare and Management of Animals provides that prefectures, non-profit corporations established for the purpose of animal welfare, veterinarian organisations and any other organisations working to disseminate and raise awareness regarding the welfare and proper care of animals may form a council for promoting the appointment of animal welfare promoters in the prefecture, and for conducting the necessary deliberations regarding such matters as support for the activities of animal welfare promoters.

There are no mandatory requirements regarding consulting with stakeholders such as NGOs on policy development on animal welfare.

Article 35 (Taking Custody of Dogs and Cats) part 4 states that a prefectural governor may commission custody of dogs and cats to an organisation established for the purpose of animal welfare.

The government does hold consultations on changes to animal-related legislation[1] in which any interested stakeholders can participate.

 

[1] http://www.env.go.jp/press/press.php?serial=16764

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The councils mentioned in Article 39 of the Act on Welfare and Management of Animals do not appear to be required to be consulted for any policy development or legislative matters other than by the local government regarding the work of the animal welfare promoters. The inclusion of these councils in the Act is a positive step and their mandate and role could be expanded and developed to benefit animal welfare more widely in the country. It could provide a more comprehensive consideration for animal welfare and expertise if NGOs and relevant stakeholders were to be consulted in areas of animal welfare policy other than those mentioned, such as the basic guidelines, standards to be prescribed for experiments with animals and measures taken by prefectures, or when writing, changing or abolishing the basic guidelines, standards, situation or matters. The same is true for the representatives on the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee outlined in the Guidelines for Proper Conduct of Animal Experiments. Having members of the committee who are animal welfare experts or representatives of relevant NGOs could improve animal welfare as this would be a priority for these committee members.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

There have been examples of stakeholders working with the government to improve animal welfare, particularly in the wake of natural disasters.[1] There do not appear to be insurmountable barriers with respect to engagement with stakeholders.

 

[1] http://www.newswire.ca/en/story/791099/wspa-announces-plan-to-assist-tho...

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

The existing requirements for stakeholder engagement are mandated by legislation.

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Since Shinzo Abe’s prime ministership, the yen’s depreciation has led to increased exports, especially in the electronics and telecommunications sector. The economic reforms advocated by Abe, (popularly termed by the neologism, ‘Abenomics’) consisting of “a massive fiscal stimulus, more aggressive monetary easing from the Bank of Japan, and structural reforms to boost Japan's competitiveness” has increased the Topix stock market index by 22% since his election. Although there have been improvement in the economy, Japan still retains a gross public debt “equivalent to 219% of nominal GDP….the highest in the developed world”. The EIU forecast that, in the longer term, GDP growth per head will be 1.7% annually for the period 2012-2030.

 

Date of information: 11/02/2014
Population 
127,561,489
GDP 
$5,959,718,262,199
GDP (PPP) 
$35,178
Education expenditure (% of GDP) 
3.8 (2010)