Bear attacks in Japan hit record high

Japan's environment ministry is calling on people to be on the alert as a record number of bear attacks occurred across the country from April to July this year.

The ministry says 53 cases of injuries were reported across the country, including 15 in Iwate Prefecture, nine in Akita Prefecture and seven in Fukushima Prefecture. A man died in a bear attack in Horokanai Town in Hokkaido in May.

The number of such attacks is at a record high since records began in fiscal 2007.

Ministry officials say more bears are likely to appear in residential areas in the Tohoku region this autumn in search of food as acorns that make up the bears' diet are scarce in their natural habitat in the region.

The officials are calling on people to stay calm and walk away quietly if they encounter a bear at a distance.

They are also advising people to keep looking at the bear as they slowly walk away and not to run when they notice a bear nearby.