LDP Panel Wants SDF To Take Aim At Harmful Animals

JAPAN - Members of a Liberal Democratic Party panel want to give Self-Defense Forces' members the legal right to fire their weapons--at animals threatening the agriculture and fisheries industries.
calendar icon 11 June 2007
clock icon 3 minute read

"In addition to damage to the farm and fisheries sectors, concerns are rising over the risks of wild bear to people," Kazuaki Miyaji, a Lower House member who chairs the panel, said. "This is indeed an abnormal situation, and we need a new framework."

Other animals on the list include wild boars, monkeys and sea lions, sources said.

The number of hunters in Japan has been reduced by at least half in the past 30 years. And many of the remaining hunters are growing too old to hunt the pesky animals that cause an estimated 20 billion yen ($164 million) in annual crop losses, the sources said.

The LDP panel's idea is to have local and municipal governments compile plans on how to deal with harmful birds and animals. Governors and other officials can then request the dispatch of the SDF to help with these plans.

The SDF would set up protective barriers and traps to prevent the animals from entering human settlements. The SDF members could also cut grass in fields abandoned for cultivation, which provide hiding places for the animals.

The panel is also discussing ways to legally authorize the SDF to use their firearms to capture and remove such animals, the sources said.

The SDF is under strict rules concerning the use of their weapons. On overseas peace-keeping missions, for example, SDF members can fire their weapons only in self-defense.

Some ministry officials have other concerns about the panel's proposal.

Source: Asahi.com

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