People keep pets because they love animals and for consolation, according to a recent survey carried out by the Japanese government.

The top reason for keeping pets was because they like animals, at 57.2 percent, followed by consolation, at 46.2 percent, up nearly 20 percentage points from the previous survey in 1990, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

The survey, conducted in June, covered 3,000 people across Japan, with 73 percent responding. Of the respondents, 36.7 percent keep pets, up 2 percentage points from the 1990 survey. The were released on Saturday.

Of those who keep pets, 63.8 percent keep dogs, 28.1 percent cats and 13.3 percent fish, with multiple answers being allowed.

Asked how the pets of others can be annoying, 58.1 percent mentioned owners’ bad manners, including the failure to clean up after dogs.

The office conducted the survey following the passage in the Diet last December of an animal protection law, under which those convicted of abusing animals may be imprisoned for up to a year.

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