Animals in JapanJanuary 2002

Pet Ownership in Japan

What are the facts and figures about pets in Japan? Japan has a total population slightly under 130 million people, living in a land area approximately the size of Germany. According to the survey conducted by the Prime Minister's office in 2000, pet ownership V.S. non-ownership in Japan comes out to a ratio of about 4:6. According to the same survey the most popular pet is the dog, followed by the cat. The 3rd and 4th places go to the fish and birds, respectively. It is rather interesting to note that this ranking is exactly the same as that in the United States. Which may mean that people's preferences for companion animals may be somewhat universal. As for the number of animals being kept in Japan, accurate data is hard to obtain due to the fact that only canines have to be registered under the present laws. These numbers are however, announced annually by the Pet Food Industry Association, and according to their figures, in the year 2000 there were approximately 10 million dogs being kept in Japan and 7.7 million cats.

Going back to the difficulties encountered in gathering such data, one must first mention the existence of an official nationwide dog registry system. All dogs in Japan must be registered as stipulated in the Rabies Prevention Law of the Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Labor. However, as there is a limit to the extent of how such a law can be enforced, not every owner will register his/her dog. Therefore the actual number of dogs being kept in Japan for exceeds the number of dogs listed in the official government registry. The figures reported by the Pet Food Industry Association takes this fact into consideration.
As for cat ownership, again, as is the case in many other countries, the numbers are hard to determine due to the fact that many cats are not "fully" but only "partly" owned. The figures presented are therefore as accurate as can be under such circumstances.

Unfortunately there are still rather "negative" statistics about pet keeping in Japan. For example of all the dogs and cats being kept as companions less than half of them are actually kept inside the home. Despite the fact that many animal welfare groups are working hard to promote the concept of indoor pet keeping, many Japanese owners still opt to keep the animals outside. In terms of housing options most apartments are still off-limits to pets. It is said that over 80% of such collective housing still does not allow pets, again, despite the fact that many advocacy groups are lobbying for change. But change is forthcoming in this area, as there has been an increase in the number of apartments allowing pets in the past several years.

Finally, going back to the survey conducted by the Prime Minister's office, the main problem related to pet keeping as identified by the survey respondents was the fact that many owners are irresponsible and readily give up on the care of their companions. This again, is probably one of the major issues faced by animal welfare agencies throughout the world.
The more we know about each other, the more aware we become of the universality of the problem we all face.


[March 2013]
Animal Assisted Therapy or What??
[February 2013]
Recent Pet Statistics for Japan
[January 2013]
Tokyo Shelter for Disaster Victims Closes


[December 2012]
Exotic Pets in Japan
[November 2012]
The Revised Animal Welfare Law
[October 2012]
Animals in Entertainment
[September 2012]
Revision of the Animal Welfare Law
[August 2012]
Children and the Natural Environment
[July 2012]
So What Happened to That Bear Farm?
[June 2012]
The Pig Farm Incident
[May 2012]
Driving With Pooch
[April 2012]
Memorial Ceremony for the Animals Lost in the Earthquake and Tsunami
[March 2012]
One Year After the Disaster
[February 2012]
Critter Education
[January 2012]
Politics and Animal Welfare


[December 2011]
The Country of the Aquarium
[November 2011]
Dangerous Dogs
[October 2011]
Revision of the Animal Welfare Law
[September 2011]
Evacuating With Pets
[August 2011]
Helping Animals After the Quake
[July 2011]
Animals in the Nuclear Evacuation Zone
[June 2011]
Animals in the Aftermath of the Great Earthquake of Eastern Japan
[May 2011]
The Great Earthquake
[March 2011]
Rabbit Island
[February 2011]
Unwanted Pets
[January 2011]
The Year of the Rabbit


[December 2010]
Funerals for Pets:An Animal Welfare Issue?
[November 2010]
The Growing Pet Business Sector in Japan
[October 2010]
A Difficult Time for Zoos
[September 2010]
The Aftermath of the Foot and Mouth Disease
[August 2010]
Service Dogs in Japan
[July 2010]
Alien Species
[June 2010]
The Growing Pet Care Market
[May 2010]
The Future of Bears in Japan
[April 2010]
Resident Cards for Dogs
[March 2010]
Favorite Pets for the Older Generation
[February 2010]
Behavior Problems in Dogs
[January 2010]
Disaster-Preparedness of Pet Owners


[December 2009]
Encouraging Trends in Dog Ownership
[November 2009]
"City Pets : Where do they Live and Where Do They Go"
[October 2009]
Hunting Dolphins
[September 2009]
Price are going up for Pets, Too!
[August 2009]
Current Conditions in Animal welfare
[July 2009]
Badgers and Foxes : Pranksters in Japanese Lore
[June 2009]
Revision of the Service Dog Law
[May 2009]
More Dogs and Cats
[April 2009]
The Making of Veterinarians
[March 2009]
Therapy Animals in Japan
[February 2009]
Birds and theJapan
[January 2009]
Happy Year of the Cow!


[December 2008]
An International Controversy
[November 2008]
Cat Cafe's?
[October 2008]
Be Kind To Animals Week
[September 2008]
Quarantine of Dogs in Japan
[August 2008]
Microchipping in Japan
[July 2008]
Akita Dogs
[June 2008]
Pet Trends in Japan
[May 2008]
The Worries of Japanese Pet Owners
[April 2008]
Recent Pet Stats for Japan
[March 2008]
The Future of Animal Experiments
[February 2008]
Animals Attract Students
[January 2008]
The Year of the Mouse


[December 2007]
Pet Food Safety in Japan
[November 2007]
Saying Good-bye to Your Pets
[October 2007]
IAHAIO Conference in Tokyo
[September 2007]
Autumn is for Rabbits
[August 2007]
The Dangers of Summer
[July 2007]
More Apartments Allowing Pets
[June 2007]
5 Years Since the Law
[May 2007]
The Cost of Pet - keeping in Japan
[April 2007]
Animal Stats for 2006
[March 2007]
Dog Breeding & Genetic Disorders in Japan
[February 2007]
Who Are the Good Pet Owners?
[January 2007]
Happy year of the wild boar!


[December 2006]
Women in the Animal Professions
[November 2006]
The People's Perception of Zoos
[October 2006]
Service Dogs in Japan
[September 2006]
Pets in Natural Disasters
[August 2006]
Winner or Loser
[July 2006]
The Wildlife Controversy
[June 2006]
Dog Ownership and Age
[May 2006]
Dog Spas
[April 2006]
Retirement, Old Age, and Companion Animals
[March 2006]
Who is in charge?
[February 2006]
Pet Business in the City
[January 2006]
Year of the Dog


[December 2005]
Third Year Review of the Service Dog Access Law
[November 2005]
Purebred Craze
[October 2005]
Co - existing With Crows
[September 2005]
A few more words on the Revision of the Animal Welfare Law
[August 2005]
Insects as Pets?
[July 2005]
[Animal Businesses] in the Revised Animal Welfare Law
[June 2005]
Cat Ownership in Japan
[May 2005]
Bears still appear around human communities
[April 2005]
Animal Nurses in Japan
[March 2005]
Keeping pets without house
[February 2005]
Veterinary education in Japan
[January 2005]
Happy Year of the Rooster!


[December 2004]
Looking Forward to 2007
[November 2004]
Rabies, a Serious Risk to both Man and Dog
[October 2004]
Animals in Pet Shops
[September 2004]
Cats: Lucky or Unlucky
[August 2004]
Rabies Vaccinations and Pet Imports
[July 2004]
Pets Over the Net !?
[June 2004]
Menageries or Educational Institutions?
[May 2004]
The Avian Flu and School Animals
[April 2004]
Recent Pet Survey Statistics
[March 2004]
A Survey of Japanese Zoos
[February 2004]
Flying Pets
[January 2004]
The Year of the Monkey, Who Will Celebrate?


[December 2003]
Save Rate of Unwanted Pets in Japan
[November 2003]
Pet Overpopulation .... What Are the Solutions?
[October 2003]
Endeavor to Register Non-Domestic Species
[September 2003]
Those popular Small Dogs
[August 2003]
The Incidence of Dog Bite Accidents
[July 2003]
Dog Parks, Cat Parks... zoos?
[June 2003]
Breed Popularity.... a headache and a heartache.
[May 2003]
Is Dog-Fighting a Valuable Cultural Tradition?
[April 2003]
8 strong needs for change in the fifth year review of the animal welfare law
[March 2003]
Trend of Motives and Concern with social manners of Pet Keeping
[February 2003]
[Dog-Runs] in Japan
[January 2003]


[December 2002]
Animals in Education
[November 2002]
Bullfighting in Japan
[October 2002]
The Next Revision of Animal Welfare Law
[September 2002]
Wild Bears and the Human Community
[August 2002]
Pets in Apartments
[July 2002]
Genetic disorders in purebred dogs
[June 2002]
New Access Law for Service Dogs
[May 2002]
Activity for promoting the social acceptance of pet dogs
[April 2002]
Dog Bite Accident
[March 2002]
Crows and City Life: Who is at fault?
[February 2002]
Raccoons, crows, and fetal cats...
[January 2002]
Pet Ownership in Japan


[December 2001]
Veterinary Education in Japan
[November 2001]
Feral Cats in Japan
[October 2001]
Shiba Dogs
[September 2001]
[August 2001]
Rabbit in school