Rampaging bear in Japan injures four before being fatally shot

TOKYO (AP) — A wild brown bear on the loose in a city in northern Japan wounded four people, entered a military camp and disrupted flights at an airport yesterday before being fatally shot.

The bear was seen wandering through the streets of Sapporo in the early hours of yesterday, triggering a number of calls to police. Over the next eight hours, Hokkaido police said the bear injured a woman in her 80s, a man in his 70s and a man in his 40s before attacking a soldier.

Police said the condition of those injured was not known, but the Asahi newspaper reported that the man in his 40s suffered serious injuries to his chest, back and limbs after he was mauled by the bear while walking on a street.

Video on local television showed the bear wandering a street in Sapporo. Chased by a car, it crossed a busy road and forced its way into the Ground Self-Defense Force’s Camp Okadama. The bear knocked down a soldier on duty at the gate.

The soldier suffered cuts to his chest and stomach, but his injuries were not life threatening, according to the defence ministry.

Next the bear ran through the camp and entered the runway at a nearby airport, causing several flights to be grounded. The bear then ran into a forest, where it was shot by
local hunters.

Toshihiro Hamada, an official at the Sapporo city Environmental Department, said authorities were investigating how the animal ended up in the city.

A bear shot dead is carried in Sapporo, northern Japan. PHOTO: AFP