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Japan exempts Ukrainian evacuees' pets from max 6-month quarantine period

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is seen in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward in this May 10, 2019 file photo. (Mainichi/Kenji Yoneda)

TOKYO -- The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has updated regulations that had required pets brought by Ukrainian evacuees entering Japan to be held in animal quarantine stations for up to 180 days, saying on April 18 that pets can now stay together with their owners once it's confirmed safe for the animals to enter the country.

    The move aims to support the lives of Ukrainian evacuees by preventing them from being separated from their pets for long periods of time and allowing the animals to live with the evacuees in Japan.

    Under the Rabies Prevention Law, when animals such as dogs or cats are brought into Japan, they must be embedded with microchips for individual identification and be checked for sufficient antibodies after getting two rabies injections. If they do not have certificates issued by the country of departure to prove that specific measures were taken, the measures and inspections are carried out in Japan at Animal Quarantine Service facilities at or near airports and harbors, and the animals are quarantined for up to 180 days.

    Due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, however, it has been difficult for people to receive such certification in Ukraine, meaning that people entering Japan from Ukraine would likely be separated from their pets for about six months.

    The agriculture ministry accordingly revised regulations as an exception, so that pets brought into Japan by Ukrainian evacuees could stay with their owners on condition that the owners regularly observe their pets' health and make reports after necessary measures, such as having them receive two rounds of vaccines and confirming their antibodies.

    According to the ministry, five dogs have entered Japan together with Ukrainian evacuees so far.

    (Japanese original by Yuki Machino, Business News Department)

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