Approval may be granted for the animal protection organization to go into the off-limits area for rescue work. Are thousands of cats and dogs still in the area? (Sankei news)
The Japanese government, and Fukushima prefecture, will accept an application from our non-government animal rescue mission to go into the prohibited area for rescue work. This is to save the pets abandoned within the contaminated danger zone, a 20km-radius area around Tokyo Electric Power Company's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The administration has not yet approved the private animal rescue mission's plan to work within the prohibited zone. There have been some problems, friction between the administration and the rescue mission, which lacked permission to go in. This application procedure is meant to avoid more trouble, and aims at efficient rescue.
The Ministry of the Environment says there were about 5800 dogs in the off-limit zone before the disaster. There is no registering system for cats, so their numbers are not clearly known. Rescue activity has also been done by the administration, but they helped only 356 dogs, and 220 cats. Some pets were saved by their owners, and some were saved by private animal rescue missions before the off-limit area was set up on April 22nd . But it seems that thousands of abandoned pets are still there.
The rescue volunteer in charge of Fukushima prefecture said that when pets hide in the house, it is difficult to make the decision to go in. Also the private rescue mission has occasionally had trouble with police, or bumped up against activities by the authorities. For example, pets were rescued from traps set by the administration.
The animal shelter in Fukushima prefecture is almost full. Winter has come, and we fear that cold and hunger may claim the lives of many beloved pets. The good news is that the Japanese government, and Fukushima prefecture, will give permission to the private animal mission if they meet certain conditions, including: having requests from owners, assuring availability of animal shelters, non-interference with activities of the administration, and submission of a plan for rescue. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals are much encouraged by this epoch-making decision for the pets, which, while barely surviving, probably long more than anything else to reunite with their families.