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The government is set to ban the use of some steel-jawed, leg-holding animal traps, limit the number of traps per person, and allow hunting of female deer during the hunting season until 2005, according to an Environment Agency report released Wednesday.

The agency specified the changes in a report to its wildlife advisory committee. Officials said the changes should take effect by the end of July.

Revisions to the Wildlife Preservation and Hunting Law will ban steel-jawed traps with an internal diameter greater than 12 cm. The government has been advising against the use of such traps for years, but the latest move will make them illegal.

Violators will be subject to a fine of up to 300,000 yen and up to six months in prison. The 12-cm standard was chosen because officials say this is smaller than most children’s shoes.

The revisions will also prohibit the use of more than 31 traps at one time — the estimated number a hunter could check in one day. This cap comes in response to fears that some trappers may operate more traps than they can manage, which could lead to accidents.

In addition, the revision will allow the hunting of female deer during the hunting season until 2005 with the approval of prefectural governors. Until now, the hunting of doe was permitted in only 11 prefectures.

This revision is an attempt to cull the rising deer population and ease the pressures it is placing on agricultural production, officials said.

Land reclamation

A group of citizens Wednesday called on the Environment Agency to help stop a plan to reclaim a popular fishing area that contains Tokyo’s last remaining shoals.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has applied to the Transportation Ministry for approval to reclaim the Former Ariake Timber Yard, located on the east side of the mouth of the Sumida River. The city intends to have it transformed into a residential area and expand the existing web of expressways.

Citizens claim, however, that the area is a valuable spawning ground for fish and resting area for fowl. They have called on the Environment Agency to survey the area and confirm their studies that show the existence of 16 types of goby in the roughly 54-hectare area, but officials say it is out of their jurisdiction.

“We were hoping the officials would agree to survey the area from the perspective of protecting the environment, but unfortunately they did not,” said Makoto Tamaki, head of the group to preserve the site.