News On Japan

Police Suspend Body Recovery Operation After Officers Attacked by Bear

Akita, May 21 (News On Japan) - Police have yet to evacuate a man found lying in the mountains of northern Japan after earlier attempts to retrieve his body led to a bear attack on two officers who were seriously injured.

The incident began when a 64-year-old man went missing on May 15 while collecting bamboo shoots, known as "nemagari-dake," in the forests of Kazuno City, Akita Prefecture.

The forest area around Jukai Line in Towada Oyu, Kazuno City, is marked with signs and has been closed to entry. The police have been making announcements and patrolling to enforce the ban.

Police Announcement: 'This is Kazuno Police Station. Those already in the mountains are urged to return to their vehicles immediately.'

On May 18, the police received a report of a person lying on the ground.

Nine officers began searching and found the missing man. However, two officers were attacked by a bear while attempting to rescue him, suffering serious injuries to their arms and faces.

The following day, a helicopter search was conducted due to safety concerns.

Although the location of the fallen person was identified, the bear was not caught in the traps set by the city, and the man has not been evacuated.

On May 20, Kazuno City intensified patrols around the area closed to entry.

Amid a surge in bear incidents nationwide, there have been over 170 bear sightings in Akita Prefecture this year.

The manager of the mountain area warned that bears are no longer responding to conventional deterrents.

Mountain Manager: 'I’ve seen about 40 bears myself. Bears are everywhere. Even if you set off firecrackers right next to them, they won’t run away. They just roll around.'

A local market official shared similar concerns: 'Bells don’t work, they have no effect. Worse, ringing a bell might attract bears, making them think there’s food.'

The Metropolitan Police Department is investigating the circumstances leading to the accident by interviewing the woman and examining other details.

Source: ANN

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