Rabies Vaccine for Kokuto
Japan is one of the few regions in the world, along with Iceland, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji Islands, Hawaii, and Guam, which can claim to be free of rabies. To keep Japan rabies-free, two ministries, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (MAFF) and the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare (MHLW) work together to make sure that the Rabies Prevention Law is upheld and that Japan remains rabies-free.
The Rabies Prevention Law, enacted in 1950, makes it necessary to conduct quarantine inspections upon departure from and entry into Japan. It also mandates the registration and vaccination of dogs in Japan.
MAFF protects our borders by overseeing the import/export of cats, dogs, and other animals in/out of Japan- and it takes jumping through many hoops to meet their stringent requirements.
I remember a few years ago Lady Gaga’s dog was denied entry to Japan as the documents had not been submitted in a timely manner. Even if you are a global mega-star Japan does not play favorites! And if the rules are strict on someone as big as Lady Gaga, well, us mere mortals fare no better when it comes to MAFF and the law.
When I first got Kokuto, I wanted to travel internationally with him, but “exporting” was such a hassle and “importing” even more of a chore, in the end I gave up. Furthermore, even if I managed to clear all the hurdles set by MAFF, he’d still be stuck in the cargo hold of the airplane. Poor doggie…
On the home front, MHLW oversees the registration of dogs and their rabies vaccination records. As part of the obligations of a dog owner, dogs need a rabies vaccine every year. Plus they need a tag certifying their registration and vaccination against rabies.
Where to Go
Normally, rabies vaccines take place at a vet’s office. Once your dog has been vaccinated, you will receive a certificate.
Take the certificate to the municipal office and receive the appropriate tag chuushazumi hyou (注射済票).
I’ve done this routine for several years when I lived by myself, but it was always a hassle. My vet office was located on our walking route, so I could stop by anytime, but going to city hall meant much planning in advance as I work on the weekdays.
Mass Rabies Inoculation Event
However, my current ward has made getting Kokuto’s rabies vaccination and receiving this tag a breeze. At the end of March-early April, the health department in my ward sends out a special form notifying those with registered dogs that they are able to go to a designated park and have their dogs vaccinated there if they wish.
- The front side, pre-filled, has all the information pertaining to Kokuto’s registration.
- Below the information is a questionnaire to be fill out and sign on the day of vaccine.
- The opposite side lists the time, date, and location, as well as fees. The morning and afternoon locations on each day are different, making it easy to find a location to attend.
These vaccination events (I like to call them “parties”) are once a week in April and require no reservation. Since Kokuto, baby, and I always go for long walks, I figured that there would be no problem going to the park.
There were about ten dogs at the park. Some coming and going with a few in line. It was my first time to go as in the past my husband has taken Kokuto due to his flexible working hours.
The first station was to make sure I completed the questionnaire and to confirm Kokuto’s health. Then, I took the postcard to the next station and paid my fee of ¥3,650. At the next station, I received a receipt and Kokuto’s new tag for the current fiscal year, Heisei 29.
Then it was time for the vaccine. Even though tables were available, I had to pick up Kokuto and hold him while the vet did his thing. Surprisingly, Kokuto didn’t cry out at all. Even the vet was surprised. Personally, I think Kokuto was happy that I was holding him for once and not the baby.
In the end, it was a very uneventful experience. I appreciated the effort of my ward in organizing the event to ensure that residents vaccinate their dogs against rabies. I will definitely take Kokuto and the baby next year.
Plus, here’s a collection of tags from other prefectures and cities in Japan (Towards the bottom of the page under: