Letter from CAIRC
January 1998 Vol.2 No.1

City Planning That Enables People and Companion Animals to Live Together
— A Growing Trend Towards Allowing the Keeping Pets in Collective Housing (Apartment, Condominiums) —

Pets are coming to be thought of as companion animals — as companions of the people who live with them — rather than merely as object of affection. As part of this shift, the matter of how people and companion animals should live together in cities is being looked at anew. In this connection, moreover, a particularly important issue which concerns our lifestyles is how to keep animals in collective housing — the form of housing that accounts for more than half of all urban housing in Japan.

In this issue we would like to consider the matter of urban planning that makes it possible for people and companion animals to live together.

Hyogo Prefecture and the City of Kobe Are Building Japan's First Publicly-Managed Rental Collective Housing Where Keeping Pets Will Be Allowed; Occupancy of the Kobe Housing Will Begin in February.

Concomitant with collective housing becoming so common in Japanese cities, government guidelines for keeping pets have grown more flexible. In 1994, for example, the Tokyo Sanitation Department drew up "Model Regulations for Keeping Animals in Collective Housing", which encourage the residents' management associations of collective housing to establish rules for keeping animals. In 1997, moreover, the Ministry of Construction revised, for the first time in 14 years, "the Code of Ethics for Managing Medium and High Rise Collective Housing", expressly stating that the rules for keeping dogs, cats and other pets in collective housing, which had been vague until then, would now be stipulated in the code (Comment 2 on Article 18 (Rules of Use)).

Keeping animals in publicly managed collective housing, which in the past was essentially prohibited, is also coming to be allowed. Last year the prefectural government of Hyogo Prefecture became the first government body in Japan to undertake the construction of rental collective housing where pets will be allowed. As society ages and nuclear families become more common, dogs, cats and other pets are increasingly providing emotional support in people's lives. In the aftermath of the Kobe Earthquake, moreover, there were not a few people who derived such support from their pets. Accordingly, the prefectural government undertook a model project whereby, as part of its earthquake recovery efforts, it is constructing two prefecturally managed, pets-allowed housing complexes — "Kanokodai Minami"(two buildings with 55 units in Kobe's Kita-ku district) and "Shirakawadai" (two buildings with 44 units in Kobe's Suma-ku district) — whose 99 units will be equipped with pet doors and other pet facilities. Occupancy is scheduled to begin in mid-April. Each complex's governing body will establish a pet management committee and rules for keeping pets, and independently ensure that pets are properly kept.

The City of Kobe is also constructing earthquake recovery rental housing where pets will be allowed. In advance of the decision to construct this housing, the City undertook the unique step of establishing a Pet Problems Research Committee — a group composed of specialists in the field, the heads of the governing bodies of temporary housing complexes, etc. — which then extensively investigated the matter of keeping pets in collective housing. According to Tomohiro Yamamoto, head of the planning section of the housing department of the Kobe Housing Bureau, "Many of the surviving victims of the Kobe Earthquake live with pets that are like family members to them, providing them with emotional support, and strongly desire to live permanently with these pets, together with which they have endured much suffering. However, keeping pets in collective housing, where there had been no little trouble with them, came to be generally prohibited. We therefore organized a research committee of experts and others to study the matter in depth."

Based on a report last June from the research committee, the City of Kobe is now constructing two earthquake recovery housing complexes with a total of 69 units — "Kanokodai Minami Housing" (one building with 35 units in Kobe's Kita-ku district) and "Verde Tamatsu" (one building with 34 units in Kobe's Nishi-ku district) — as "model housing" where keeping pets will be allowed. While no special facilities for pets will be included in the units, a decision has been made to organize pet owners' committees composed of residents and to establish detailed rules for encouraging restrictions on breeding, for the kind and number of pets that can be kept, etc. Occupancy is scheduled to start, respectively, on February 3 and in late March. This will be Japan's first publicly-managed rental collective housing where keeping pets will be allowed. In connection with it, classes on how to keep pets, pet training classes, and more are now being planned in cooperation with the Kobe Veterinary Medical Association.

"Memorial Service for Animal Victims of the Kobe Earthquake" and "Symposium on City Planning That Enables Living with Animals" to Be Held February 1 in Kobe

As an example of the increasing importance being accorded to the matter of living with companion animals in cities, a "Memorial Service for Animal Victims of the Kobe Earthquake" and a "Symposium on City Planning That Enables Living with Animals" will be held on February 1 in Zoo Hall at the City of Kobe's Oji Zoo. The sponsor is the Kobe Earthquake Executive Committee for Animal Mourning and Commemorating Activities, which is composed mainly of organizations and public bodies that vigorously conducted animal rescue activities at the time of the earthquake: Hyogo Prefecture, the City of Kobe, the Hyogo Prefecture Veterinary Medical Association, the Kobe Veterinary Medical Association, the Osaka branch of the Japan Animal Welfare Society, and the Council on Animal Rearing in Collective Housing. On February 1, the memorial service will be held at 10:30 in the morning and the symposium at 1:00 in the afternoon. The symposium will consist of lectures by a three-member panel and a general debate among the panelists and two prefectural residents. The panelists and the subjects of their lectures will be: Shiro Nakagawa (director of the Ibaraki Prefecture Nature Museum and former superintendent of the Ueno Zoo), "Animals and Cities — How Are Cities Related to Animals?"; Masumi Yoshida (professor at Doshisha University), "Japan as Seen According to Its Laws Related to Pets"; and Yoshihiro Hayashi (professor in the Department of Agriculture at the University of Tokyo), "Problem Behaviors of Dogs in Cities."

Masahiko Hataya, vice chairman of the Kobe Earthquake Executive Committee for Animal Mourning and Commemorating Activities and president of the Kobe Veterinary Medical Association, said the following about the upcoming events. "Three years have passed since the earthquake. Many memorial services have been held for people, but none has been held for animals. This service is therefore being held to commemorate the animals that perished in the earthquake, and to provide some consolation to the people who, in the earthquake, lost pets that lived with them like family members. Also, we veterinarians, through the animal rescue activities that we've conducted since the earthquake, have seen many cases in which people have been helped by living with animals. Recently, keeping animals in collective housing has become an issue, so we decided to take the construction, by Hyogo Prefecture and the City of Kobe, of collective housing where pets will be allowed — the first such undertakings by public bodies in Japan — as an opportunity to hold a symposium for the purpose of seriously thinking about how people can live together with animals and presenting this matter to the public."

One member of the panel, Yoshihiro Hayashi, professor in the Department of Agriculture at the University of Tokyo and chairman of the Society for the Study of Human Animal Relations, had this to say. "Animal Rescue Headquarters of the Southern Hyogo(Kobe) Earthquake , which was formed following the earthquake, evoked a nationwide response through the animal rescue activities that it carried out through the joint efforts of government, veterinary associations, animals protection groups, and so on. Those activities were of major importance, I believe, in that they furthered understanding about animals in Japan. My organization, the Society for the Study of Human Animal Relations , was established immediately after the earthquake, in April 1995, and has since continued to help with animal rescue activities while using its slender means for such purposes as holding, six months after its founding, in October 1995, the "Kobe Earthquake Symposium" in Kobe. The symposium which is being held now, three years after the earthquake, is a good opportunity, I believe, to know how people are thinking about the subject of people and animals living together."

The Companion Animal Research and Information Center Will Publish and Begin Distributing, on February 1, a Textbook on How to Live Together with Dogs and Cats in Collective Housing

So, how does one live comfortably with dogs and cats in the collective housing that comprises more than half of all urban housing in Japan? In order to answer the many questions on this subject, the Companion Animal Research and Information Center will publish "Together with Companion Animals - Living with Dogs and Cats in Collective Housing," a free textbook (not for sale) to be distributed starting February 1. The textbook will be printed in two colors on A4-sized paper; it will be 40 pages long; and its compilation will be supervised by the Japanese Society of Humane Care of Animals . Consisting of four chapters — "Collective Housing and Pets," "Living with Cats," "Living with Dogs," and "Rules for Living with Pets in Collective Housing" — it will explain, in a manner easy to understand even for people intending to keep dogs and cats in collective housing for the first time, such things as the kinds of pets that are appropriate for collective housing, the training of pets, spaying and neutering, and making rules for keeping pets.

As a first step, it will be distributed gratis to the participants at the Kobe symposium on February 1. It will then be actively distributed at seminars on keeping pets in collective housing, at pet training classes, and so on.

At the Companion Animal Research and Information Center, it is our hope that this textbook will contribute, if even in the smallest way, to building comfortable relationships between the people and companion animals that live together in collective housing.

In the future we look forward to carrying out numerous other activities aimed at building good relationships between people and pets and at creating, within urban settings, environments that are easy for companion animals to live in.