The outbreak of rabies was a matter of great concern to GHQ, but quarantine activities remained sluggish, and GHQ sent a memorandum to the Japanese authorities concerning rabies quarantine. Part of the contents of this memorandum was incorporated into the Rabies Prevention Law.

Why GHQ?

The outbreak of rabies was also a matter of grave concern to GHQ.

Contrary to GHQ’s intentions, the outbreak of rabies that had continued from 1948 to 1949 had resulted in sluggish quarantine activities. This stirred the GHQ authorities to panic, and on March 6, 1950, they received a memorandum.


It states that a quarantine plan (movement bans, thorough vaccination, keeping dogs indoors, reporting and monitoring biting dogs, communicating to the private sector, etc.) should be created to be implemented by the governor, and that rabies vaccines should be supplied.




(1) Seventy-six people have died from rabid dog bites during this period, reported from prefectures including the Kanto region. There have been 82 cases of rabies reported in the Kanto region since January 1, 2013, and there is no indication that this outbreak will decrease in the future unless better control measures are taken to prevent this outbreak.

(2) The current outbreak constitutes a clear danger to the occupying military personnel, the Japanese population, and livestock and livestock breeding, and immediate steps should be taken to implement the provisions described above.

  The officials of the Dairy and Meat Hygiene Division of the Ministry of Health and Welfare should meet and prepare a definite quarantine plan to be immediately implemented by the governor. This plan should include the following points

・Enforcement of the joint ministerial ordinance requiring the establishment of a traffic barrier for the movement of dogs between prefectures in the Kanto region. Furthermore, the prefectures of Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku should be ordered to prohibit the movement of dogs from any prefecture in Honshu, and joint regulations by the Ministries of Agriculture, Forestry and Health should be implemented until such time as the outbreak of rabies is no longer considered controlled or eradicated.

・All dog exhibitions, sales, etc. should be prohibited while the traffic ban is in place.

・No exemptions should be allowed under any circumstances while the traffic ban is in place.

・An active immunization program should be implemented in the Kanto region. Veterinarians at public health centers, veterinarians engaged in livestock quarantine, and veterinarians in private practice should be engaged to assist in the immunization of all dogs in the area and in areas where veterinarians are not available.

・All dogs should be confined to the owner’s residence. The dog should be tied with a leash during exercise and treated in such a way that it cannot be released at any time.

・It is not permissible to confine a dog during the day and leave it unattended at night.

・All dog owners should immediately take steps to immunize their dogs against rabies.

・All immunized dogs must be confined to the residence until the ban on dog travel is lifted.

・The owner of a biting dog should immediately report to the veterinarian at the public health center, the official in charge of livestock disease control, or a practicing veterinarian, so that the necessary steps can be taken to keep the dog under surveillance. The period of surveillance is 16 days.

・A large-scale dog-sweeping program will be conducted, and officers will be requested to provide assistance if necessary. It must be understood that the civil rights of the owner must be recognized during the dog prodigy.

・When wild dogs are captured, they should be handled as prescribed by the governor.

・ Veterinarians should be required to kill wild dogs in as humane a manner as possible.

(2) The news of the prohibition of the movement of dogs and the prevention of rabies should be communicated to private households through radio, newspapers, and posters on bulletin boards in urban villages.

 (3) Officials of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries and the Ministry of Health and Welfare are responsible for ensuring that all prefectures in the Kanto region are fully supplied with rabies vaccine without delay.

 (4) Officials of the Ministries and Agencies concerned with this case should submit a report on the progress of rabies prevention measures to the Veterinary Affairs Division, Public Health and Welfare Bureau, General Headquarters of the Allied Forces.


Brigadier General, Medical Department, Directorate of Public Health and Welfare

Crawford F. Sams

(Translated by External Affairs Division, Ministry of Health and Welfare)


 Transcribed from “Memories of the Enactment of the Rabies Prevention Law” by Yoshio Tanaka.


This memorandum triggered the drafting of the notification of the rabies prevention law’s eradication measures guidelines and the draft of the rabies prevention law, which will be discussed later, based on the information contained in the description.