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Man fatally attacked by pet bear in central Japan's Nagano Pref.


MATSUMOTO, Nagano -- A 75-year-old man in this central Japan city was fatally attacked by his pet bear on Nov. 28.

    Local police received an emergency call at around 9:20 a.m. from the man's family saying that Akira Maruyama had been attacked by a bear he kept at home. According to Nagano Prefectural Police's Matsumoto Police Station, Maruyama was found collapsed in a cage on the grounds of his home with bite marks all over his body. He was later confirmed dead at the hospital.

    Police and other sources said that the animal was a male Japanese black bear measuring about 1 meter in length and weighing some 80 kilograms. It is believed that Maruyama was attacked while taking care of the bear.

    According to the municipal public health center, he obtained permission to keep the bear in 2004. During an inspection of the cage's structure and lock in May this year, no problems were found. The bear was later shot to death by a hunters' association member.

    The scene where the attack occurred is a mountainous area dotted with houses about 10 kilometers north of JR Matsumoto Station.

    (Japanese original by Naohiko Takura and Hideyo Suzuki, Nagano Bureau)

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