The story was reported by The Mainichi on the 2nd April 2023. It was picked up quickly by the mainstream media in the west, including BBC, The Guardian Sky News and Insider.
The machine was installed by Soba Goro at Tazawako Station, in November 2022. It is an attempt to turn bear meat into a souvenir. According to reports, 10 to 15 packs are sold per week.
The comes just months after animal rights campaigners expressed outrage at Japanese whaling company Kyodo Senpaku for selling whale meat in vending machines to “boost consumption”.
BBC reported that Japan limits the number of bears to be hunted at 15% of their population. However, it is estimated that many more bears are killed every year because bear parts and bile sell for high prices in the black market.
Around 10,000 to 15,000 bears still live in Japan. Because of habitat destruction, overhunting and poaching, the subspecies are at a high risk of extinction, with experts predicting that they “will likely be gone within the next 100 years”.
The Vegan Review first published The Post Bear Meat Vending Machine is Celebrated Despite the High Risk of Extinction.