The 203rd Extra Session of the National Diet of Japan ended on December 5. The proposal to ban dog and cat meat, advocated by the World Dog Alliance, was discussed during the session.
At the Meeting of the Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of the House of Representatives, Congressman Kushida Seiichi raised concern that some restaurants are still serving dog meat, even though no dog meat has been imported to Japan since 2017.
In October 2019, several Vietnamese technical intern trainees were arrested in Japan for smuggling frozen dog meat. The source of the meat was unknown considering dog meat farming is prohibited in Vietnam. The dog meat imported to Japan came from stolen dogs, according to Congressman Kushida.
The Director-General of the Food Safety and Consumer Affairs Bureau responded, “dog meat is considered safe if it meets regulation of the Food Sanitation Law. We plan to raise the awareness of animal welfare in Japan.”
Officials of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries rarely use the term “animal welfare”. They conduct regular inspections on animal quarantine stations only to make sure they abide the Livestock Infectious Disease Prevention Act with the concern of livestock hygiene maintenance.
The government’s response indicated that they acknowledged the importance of the dog meat ban. The Japanese government seldom openly changes its stance on certain policies and would only do so in a subtle way. Thus the Director-General’s answer was considered positive by many.
The Japanese government is now aware of the WDA’s campaigns around the globe.