Dog keeping laws and regulations in Japan
According to the report from JAPAN PET FOOD ASSOCIATION (JPFA), the dog population in Japan was about 8.9 million in 2018. While the recent popularity of cats is boosting its population, reaching 9.64 million and exceeding the dog population, the data shows there are still many dog lovers in Japan.
What all dog owners are required to do under the dog keeping laws
In Japan, there are several laws/regulations that people must follow to own dogs. If you plan to get a dog in Japan, it is advised you check them beforehand. Here you will find the outline and what you are required to do to keep your dog.
ID Registration at local government
(Kai-Inu no Touroku 飼い犬の登録)
Register your dog at the municipal office in the city you live, and get a license tag "犬鑑札" issued to identify your ownership. (Required once in life)The registration fee will be about 3000 JPY.
You can also microchip your dog at a veterinary clinic for the identification instead of putting the licence tag. In fact, the microchipping system will be installed to replace the tag attachment soon near future. The fee for microchipping & registration will be somewhere between 4000 and 10,000 JPY.
Vaccination to prevent rabies
(Kyokenbyo Yobo Chuusha 狂犬病予防注射)
All dogs aged 90 days or over are obligated to be vaccinated under the Rabies Prevention Act, required once every year.
Get your dog vaccinated and receive the injection certificate "注射済票".
The vaccination is required once a year during the period between April and June. Local government conducts the immunization at designated places such as public facilities and gardens. The fee is 3650 JPY (3100 JPY for injection + 550 JPY for the certificate), as of May 2020.
The owners who have registered their dogs are usually supposed to receive the information by mail. Also, the schedule will be announced through a leaflet or website.
For example, Katsushika-ku Ward offers the information on the website.
News of meeting injection in 2018 by Katsushika-ku Ward
*Note the schedule varies every year.
In the case you missed the scheduled days, go to a veterinary hospital to get the injection. The fee may vary depending on the hospital.
Carrying license tag and injection certificate
Put both the licence tag (or microchip) and the injection certificate tag on your dog, usually on the dog collar as dogs must wear a dog collar and leash (lead) outside, like when the owner takes them for walking.
Notifications: Death, Change of address
If a dog dies, the owner is required to notify the death at the municipal office. A notification is also required when the owner (with the dog) changes living place.
Follow the dog-Keeping rules and manners
The website of Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, provides the information on dog-keeping rules and manners in Japan. The website is to learn about assistance dogs for persons with physical disabilities", but it helps dog owners to understand what they should know to have a dog.
"Assistance Dogs for Persons with Physical Disabilities" Portal Site by Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare
Animal quarantine information for travellers to Japan by Animal Quarantine Service
Japan Veterinary Medical Association
Microchipping of your pets by Ministry of the Environment Government of Japan
the Law for Ensuring the Safety of Pet Food by JAPAN PET FOOD ASSOCIATION