The ratio of pet dogs in Japan that have received rabies vaccinations has fallen to around 70% in recent years from nearly 100%, according to government data, with a lack of reported cases likely leading to diminishing fears of a disease that is almost always fatal.

In a case that highlighted the decline in vaccinations, which stood at 70.9% in fiscal 2022 in the latest data made available by the health ministry, a dog that attacked a dozen people, including children, in February in Gunma Prefecture had not been vaccinated against rabies.

"I thought vaccinations were bad for the body," the owner of the dog said, explaining one of his dogs had died following an inoculation.