| For many years in Japan, it has been considered a matter
of course that pet ownership is simply out of the question for apartment and condominium
dwellers, and a great many buildings still have rules banning pets. More than
half of urban dwellers now live in collective housing arrangements, and at the
same time the overall understanding of what pets are has changed. In the past
two or three years, collective housing developments that allow pets have been
increasing in number, and the term "companion animal" has established itself in
our vocabulary. Also, in December of 2000, the Animal Protection and Management
Law was revised.
Unfortunately, the fact remains that conflict over pets is still all too common.
And in a society in which people with diverse tastes and lifestyles all must live
together, making it possible for pet ownership to be accepted as a natural part
of life will require understanding from all sides, improved observation of the
courtesies incumbent upon pet owners, and the establishment of specific rules.
Both pet owners and non-pet owners need to form a community in which they can
both live comfortably together, and the urgent effort to create the necessary
foundation is under way.