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Bear shot dead after four people reported injured in Japan

Police in northern Japan were notified of a bear's presence in the city of Sapporo on Friday. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI
Police in northern Japan were notified of a bear's presence in the city of Sapporo on Friday. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

June 18 (UPI) -- Four people were reported injured after a bear ran through the city of Sapporo in northern Japan, prompting authorities to close schools and warn residents to stay home.

The brown bear attacked and wounded three men and an elderly woman, charged into a nearby military base and airport, before it was shot dead about 11 a.m. Friday, NHK reported.

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Police was first notified at 3:30 a.m. of the bear's presence in the area. Shortly before 6 a.m., the animal had attacked and injured a man in his seventies and a woman in her eighties, the report said.

Two other men, both in their forties, also were mauled, with one victim critically wounded, according to NHK.

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An NHK-owned camera that was installed at Sapporo Okadama Airport showed the bear appearing on the airport runway at about 8 a.m. Members of a local hunting association killed the bear at 11 a.m.

Flights were canceled Friday and the city shuttered 10 schools. The bear attack also prompted the central government to issue a statement.

"We offer our sincere condolences to those affected by the bear," Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said Friday. "To residents of areas where there have been bear sightings please pay special attention to advisories about large bears and ensure your safety."

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The Asahi Shimbun reported the bear also made its way to a military garrison in the Sapporo area, causing commotion on base.

According to The Japan Bear and Forest Society, bear sightings near large urban areas have become increasingly common and the animals leave their habitat to search for food.

The bear attacks came the same day residents in Sapporo reported a "naked man" roaming the streets of the city.

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The man wore nothing save for a facemask, eyewitnesses said, according to reports.

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