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Authorities warn residents as monkey spotted on the move in northern Tokyo

TOKYO -- Authorities including Tokyo's Kita Ward Office and the Metropolitan Police Department are warning people to steer clear of a monkey spotted in the capital's north, as it could harm humans if approached.

    With numerous monkey sightings since mid-August in neighboring Saitama Prefecture as well as Tokyo, authorities speculate the same monkey could be on the move, heading southwest.

    A monkey is seen moving along the wall of a house in Tokyo's Kita Ward on Aug. 26, 2021. (Mainichi/Ririko Maeda)

    The Kita Ward Office received a report of a monkey in the Tabatashinmachi district at around noon on Aug. 26, and the animal had been spotted multiple times by the evening. No damage or injuries have been confirmed. Since a sighting in the Saitama Prefecture city of Fujimino on Aug. 16, a monkey has also been spotted in numerous locales, including in the cities of Shiki and Asaka in the same prefecture, and Tokyo's Arakawa Ward.

    There were seven monkey sightings in Fujimino on Aug. 16 through 17, and the animal was also spotted in Shiki and Asaka on Aug. 20. As it was spotted in places including a residential area and a bridge used by pedestrians, on Aug. 20 the Asaka Municipal Government issued a warning through primary and junior high schools urging parents and guardians to exercise caution.

    After that, there were a total of about 10 sighting in the capital's Kita Ward by Aug. 26, in areas including the Takinogawa and Oji districts on Aug. 24, and the Showamachi district on Aug. 25. The monkey was also spotted in the neighboring Arakawa Ward that same day.

    The Kita Ward Office is urging people to make sure their homes are locked, to keep a firm hold of bags and personal belongings when out, and not to approach the monkey carelessly, feed it or make eye contact with the animal.

    (Japanese original by Asako Takeuchi and Kazuki Mogami, Tokyo City News Department; Video by Yoshiya Goto, Photo Group)

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