Japan Today
national

Bear shot dead after entering Yamagata junior high school

42 Comments

A bear was shot dead Thursday after it smashed a glass door and entered a public school in Nagai, Yamagata Prefecture, police said. The incident took place at around 6:40 a.m. as a janitor was cleaning near the entrance. He was brushed aside by the bear and sustained a minor injury to his leg, police said.

The janitor called police who alerted members of a local hunting club. At around 7:50 a.m. the bear was found in a first floor corridor of the junior high school where it was shot dead.

Local authorities said it was a male Asian black bear measuring around 1.3 meters in length. There were no children in the school at the time of the incident.

The janitor was quoted by police as saying: "I didn't even have time to register fear before the bear came charging at me."

Earlier Thursday morning at around 6:30 a.m., a bear attacked 61-year-old Tadashi Umezu in a rice paddy 2 kilometers away. Umezu was seriously injured in the attack, sustaining fractures to both arms. The attacks are believed to have been carried out by the same animal.

These incidents come just days after a Yamagata couple were attacked by a bear on Oct 12 in the nearby town of Iide.

Meanwhile, in Katsuyama, Fukui Prefecture, a female black bear that had been in a day-care center for elderly people was shot dead on Wednesday after eluding hunters in the facility for nearly 36 hours.

© Compiled from news reports

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

42 Comments
Login to comment

And that is the end of the story. Hard to imagine how it could have ended better. I hope that cool heads prevailed and people thought adequately about how to solve the problem without killing the animal.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Did it actually say a Janitor?? IN my 6 years of teaching at JHS and Elementary schools in Japan, I have never seen a Janitor at school. Perhaps they meant that old help lady/dude that makes tea all day long??

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Seems like this was a rogue that met its inevitable end. At 1.3m it is also quite a large asian bear. However, I am curious as to why the J-flops couldn't shoot it. Aren't they the ones with professional firearms training? Instead, they called the yocal yahoo hunters? Why do the J-flops carry guns?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

lovejapan21-- Really? All my junior highs and elementary schools have a guy who does odd jobs around the school, like taking care of the grounds and things like that. I thought that was pretty standard. That's probably what they mean.

Tragic to hear about the bear, but it would have been worse if it had hurt or killed a child.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I laughed when I read that the police, when told about the bear, called the local hunting club to take care of it. I had this image of Japanese huntsmen in hunting jackets, camoflauge pants and caps, carrying shotguns and tip-toeing through the school hallways looking for bear tracks.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How does a bear elude hunters in a day care center for 36 hours??

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hard to imagine how it could have ended better.

I imagine the bear would disagree.

I hope that cool heads prevailed and people thought adequately about how to solve the problem without killing the animal.

Doesn't sound like it. Sounds more like a knee-jerk 'Bear - shoot it' reaction. They couldn't use a tranquilliser gun because....?

a female black bear that had been in a day-care center for elderly people was shot dead on Wednesday after eluding hunters in the facility

When I get old I don't want to go to a facility that has hunters in it. Send me to ubasuteyama instead.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The special acorns that are the bear's staple diet for building fat reserves before hibernation are in very short supply this year apparently. Something to do with the cold spring and long dry summer. They are driven by hunger to come down out of the Okuyama (deep mountain forest?) and to forage in the interface around traditionally human habitation zones, it was being explained on the J news.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Manpe....It dressed up like an old lady and lay in bed under the covers....no,wait, wolves do that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It must have been Winne The Pooh looking for honey !!! Bears, monkeys and roaches attacking people this year. Very scary !!!! Maybe next year a swarm of locust will fill the sky and eat all rice crops. Ohhhhh no thhe agony !!!!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How does a bear elude hunters in a day care center for 36 hours??

Maybe it was disguised like the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood?

Bears are getting a bit more curious it seems. These reports are usually about someone who's too cheap to go to the supermarket and buy a pack of mushrooms getting mauled in the woods.

Why don't the police have an anti-bear team to deal with stuff like this? Not the local Deliverance guys.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Maybe heli teams should do emergency food drops on the tops of bear mountains, if they value the native wild life. Attract them away from the villages.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

yes cleo i also wonder why no tranquilizer, perhaps there was not an actual area to confine it long enough to tranquilize it,,,, i guess they had to weigh in all the factors, and thinking of kids coming to school soon

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Actually it is not uncommon even in America. If a bear were to be found in a school, the police would confine it but not shoot it either (depending on the circumstances), the police would either call Animal control unit, or call the local wild life experts to come in and handle the situation depending on how dangerous it is. The police would not shoot the bear unless it was absolutely necessarily.

I really don't see any problem here in the police calling the local hunters club (or whatever it is) because those people are the most likely to have dealt with bears and wild animals, rather then the local koban cop.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The title refers to one incident yet there are 4 or 5 mentioned. I didn`t hear about the other ones at all. Why is it when one of these incidents occurs the media decides to report the others that noone was aware of? To bring more fright into the world?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yeah. Cleo. I knew YOU would not think so. But I thought it through, and a bear that is swiping at people and implicated in three attacks is not a friendly bit of local wildlife.

What would you do, genius? You offer nothing. Stick your neck out a little.

If it is a mother, you are going to trank it and take it away somewhere? Where? What about the cubs anyway?

Do you just leave it alone and wait for the school bell to signal the smorgasbord of bite sized treats in randoseru?

I do feel bad about it. As I noted above, I think killing it was the only thing to do, but I hope nobody got twitterpated about it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

RIP little guy!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sorry lovejapan, In my 10 years as a jr. high and high school teacher here in Japan I have seen plenty of JANITORS, yes mostly old men, but they help keep busy and the schools clean, but maybe I was at a private school, so maybe you have only taught at public schools? Anyway, good job for shooting that bear DEAD! Thank the gods it did not injure or kill any innocent children.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Somebody told me the falling inaka population is the cause of these bear attacks. The woodlines used to be farther out, but have gotten so close the bears can now get close enough to smell food and....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What would you do, genius? You offer nothing.

I did ask why a tranquilliser gun was not used.

If it is a mother, you are going to trank it and take it away somewhere? Where? What about the cubs anyway?

What happens to the cubs when Mum is dead? That's somehow better? (This particular bear was a male, but I'm not sure if it's possible to tell in the heat of the moment and (hopefully) from a distance)

Do you just leave it alone and wait for the school bell to signal the smorgasbord of bite sized treats in randoseru?

The only alternative to shooting the bear dead is to carry on as normal and let the kiddies into the school?? (And you throw genius at me???)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Chime in everybody. What do you think they should have done? I am stumped.

I assume it is aggressive, so no zoos or anyplace near people. It needs a large, delimited area as a habitat, which basically means an island, but that is unlikely to have food. So what do you do?

Anybody? Seriously. People in Yamagata have been looking for other solutions for at least a few decades, and there don't appear to be any. Cleo? Go ahead. You are the animal expert.

Teams of researchers in Yamagata have done DNA tests on crops that have been damaged. Their determination is that a disproportionate amount of damage is done by a few bears. If there is a bright side to this, it is that other bears, presumably causing no problems for humans, will not be blamed for this bear's transgressions. So there it is. Having a small group of people designated as "bear hunters" allows authorities to monitor when and how animals are killed, IF they are killed.

So what did they do wrong?

Pointofview. You would be amazed by the number of attacks and "charges" that occur. Farmers report them to each other and have tacit knowledge of the movements of animals as they go from one farm to another. For animals that travel in groups, it is easy to track the groups from day to day, but for solitary animals, you cannot tell if it is the same one unless you get DNA samples. In some parts of the country, schools and neighborhood associations are alerted even for monkeys. I think if they were all reported in the media, it would quickly become "not news", sort of like public officials dresssing up like Sailor Moon.

It is no different for the people living near Yellowstone in the US, or lots of other places. There are attacks there every summer. Since 2000, there have been about 20 deaths from bear attacks in all of North Am, but those occurred in BC, Tennessee, Quebec, Colorado, Pennsylvania.... all over the place. Nobody really pays attention until someone gets killed or mauled badly.

It also emphasizes that only a few bears in a very few cases ever become aggressive against humans. Those cases call for extreme measures. It is too bad, but that is the way it is set up.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

cleo: They couldn't use a tranquilliser gun because....?

...because they don't have anywhere to put the bears once they have been tranquilized. Bears that have become used to getting food from human areas will return to those sources - and bears that have discovered how easily glass breaks are a significant danger to the public.

In Canada, it's fairly easy (and common) to trap or tranquilize a bear and haul it 3 or 4 hundred km out of the way before releasing it in an area where it will no longer pose a threat to people, but in Japan - it's impossible to find a location remote enough.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

OMG

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Public menace - sorry bear you have got to go. Any bear willing to enter human habitat will surely do it again. Asian black bear - listed as "Vulnerable" if it were in "Endangered"" or "critical" then sure look at other options, but the choice to shoot it was fairly clear cut in a logical, rational way.

I could never imagine the police calling the hunting club elsewhere in the western world, that makes me chuckle. My friend back home - a cop, had at shoot a enraged steer that had escaped the salughterhouse and was causing carnage on the nearby roads. He took a 308 rifle from the copshop.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A bear was spotted numerous times in and around my neighborhood earlier this week. Later that day, pamphlets were distributed to all residents detailing what to do in case you encounter one. The next day, people from City Hall, all decked out in orange gear, knocked on our door and notified us of the bear trap they were setting up in the apple orchard across the street. Needless to say, bears are on our mind this week.

Still, I feel for the bear. Another year of scarce food. I hope it's trapped and released. But that is not to say that I wouldn't agree with shooting it dead if it attacked and injured someone.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"it was a male Asian black bear"

Can't we all just get along?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A 1.3 metre bear? Not exactly a grizzly. Close the school, catch the poor thing and release it in the mountains. Hey, let's just go and kill all the sharks if there is an attack at a beach!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Black bears are pretty dangerous, actually, despite their smaller size. I once read that when you look at bear attacks from grizzlies or brown bears, they usually happen from being in the wrong place at the wrong time, like accidentally being between a mother and her cubs. In black bear attacks, however, they've found that the people attacked were actually stalked like prey.

Too bad the bear was shot, but thank goodness no children were hurt!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why couldn't they have used tranquilizers and relocated the bear? It didn't have to die.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Good thing NO children were hurt. Hey its a school mybe the Bear wanted to get an education. But seriously the Bear was a threat & im sure there was NO "tranquilliser gun kit" anywhere in the school.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

(correction) Good thing NO children were in the Building at the time

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why couldn't they tranquilise the poor bear and give it to China as a gift in exchange for a cuddly panda. The Chinese could let it loose on the Daiyou Islands with a female companion and start a bear sanctuary. A happy, Walt Disney-style ending.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I would have lured him out with honey.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Local authorities said it was a male Asian black bear

So when the criminal is Japanese they just say "Asian"? Typical police whitewashing. ಠ_ಠ

"Asian black bear" --> "Asiatic black bear"
0 ( +0 / -0 )

For the tranquilizer crowd. Nagai is nowhere near a zoo, so I assume there is not an abundance of tranquilizer guns laying around there. Sure they could wait a day for someone from Sendai or someplace to come out with a tranquilizer gun, but the bear could do severe property damage by then. There is no shortage of bears. Shoot the thing and put the kids back in class.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Poor animal.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I saw this on the news last night. They keystones had to bring in a "local hunter" to take down the bear. I guess they wanted somebody that could shoot straight and not end up taking out innocent people (or other cops) in a hail of terrified gunfire! I hope the farmer recovers from his wounds!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why couldn't they just catch and rehabilitate this poor brute? It could have become a productive member of nature.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

All bears have fantastic ways of smelling food products. So if there was some candy to other foods or you name it then the bear knows that is the place to get into.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There is the right way and the Japanese way. That is why the bear was killed and not drugged.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

police alerted members of a local hunting club

Some of these guys (hunters) do carry tranquilizers, but WAY too expensive to put in use if they are not guaranteed a restock by the authorities. Sadly, it less expensive the purchase of a bullet (by bulk) than a tranquilizer (special order). Poor thing, sad ending. Ironic how we dare scrutinize the word "extinction" on animals.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites