• Kyodo

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More than 7,000 electric fences across the country have inadequate safety measures in place, according to a report compiled by the farm ministry on Wednesday.

The report was unveiled during a government task force meeting, following a fatal accident in the Shizuoka town of Nishi-izu last month. Two men were electrocuted after touching an electric fence while picnicking. Five women and children also sustained injuries.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries had asked local municipalities to inspect electric fences set up at around 100,000 farms and other locations across Japan.

The results showed that 7,090 locations with electric fences, or 7.1 percent, either failed to put up a warning sign, didn’t have a circuit breaker installed or failed to install other safety systems.

During the meeting, the government task force said it will notify local municipalities that proper safety measures need to be installed. If electric fence operators fail to oblige, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will order them to take down the fences, it said.

The inspection by the agriculture ministry, conducted from late July to mid-August, found 6,713 fences had no proper warning signs while 606 did not have a circuit breaker attached. It also examined about 180 golf courses, of which 15 failed to install adequate safety measures.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the inadequate safety measures discovered were illegal.

But relevant ministries will instruct operators, through local municipalities, to revamp their safety measures and METI may conduct on-site inspections if necessary.

The government is also considering reinforcing regulations against operators who have installed electric fences themselves because those fences often lack sufficient safeguards.

In the Shizuoka incident, a 79-year-old man who owned the fence didn’t have a circuit breaker attached or a warning sign placed nearby. The man, who committed suicide after the incident, had been under investigation for violating safety regulations.

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