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Japan’s Environment Ministry will create a system of certifying experienced hunters as instructors to train young hunters to help resolve a shortage of personnel who capture deer and wild boar.

The certified hunting instructors will accompany young hunters and give hands-on training on how to find animals, shoot them and set traps, ministry officials said.

The ministry will start trials at several locations in fiscal 2021, which starts in April, to work out appropriate teaching content and an instructor certification mechanism, the officials said. It hopes to launch the certification system on a full scale from fiscal 2023.

According to the ministry, the number of young people who acquire hunting licenses has been increasing. The number of people in their 20s with licenses grew from 2,100 in fiscal 2006 to 7,500 in fiscal 2016, and the number of such people in their 30s rose from 8,400 to 15,600.

The growth apparently reflects the publicity efforts of the ministry and local governments concerned over bird and animal damage on farms, as well as the popularity of manga comics themed on female hunters.

However, the number of young licensed hunters who actually go hunting has not shown clear growth, according to the officials.

The practical exam for licensing only checks whether applicants can handle hunting guns and traps, and it is difficult for those who pass exams to go hunting soon.

The ministry, therefore, will put together a system under which certified instructors help people who have got hunting licenses to acquire practical techniques and knowledge.

The coaches will give on-site instructions on how to find, capture and kill animals, as well as the content of related laws and regulations and the method of good communications with residents in communities close to hunting areas.

As some local governments and hunting clubs are already offering lectures for first-time hunters, the ministry will look at such examples to draw up an instruction program that can be used across the nation.

To foster hunting instructors, the ministry is considering a mechanism of holding training workshops and certifying those who finish the course.

The ministry assumes that certified hunting instructors will work as sole proprietors or members of private-sector businesses and coach young hunters for fees. By encouraging experienced hunters to serve in the side job of instructors, it hopes that the certifications system will help create new jobs in hilly and mountainous areas.

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