Japan's First International Animal Welfare Centre.

We need to expand! Our current facility is old and has grown piece-meal over the past 20 years. It has gone through two major earthquakes with us and it is starting to look frayed around the edges. In addition to our rehoming efforts, welfare work and outreach work, we need to get to the root of the problem. That means education - not just of ordinary citizens, but local governments too. Our planned new centre will be the first animal welfare centre in Japan to be built to international standards. As such we hope it will be a "beacon centre" - setting a standard - a place for others to visit and experience "best practice", both in what we do and the buildings we do it in. And then copy it. We need you to help us build it


See the links in the sidebar for up to date information on what has been done and what is to come. We have a running commentary page, showing what we have already done and are doing now, information on the costs and how you can help, and information on what is to come. See the site on Google maps.


Our Current Centre in Nose
We love our current centre in Nose, but we have outgrown it. [Have a look in our photo-gallery - below - and you will see what we mean.] We started here with just a few animals and now we have between three and four hundred.  It's quite hard to get to - a serious problem when you are trying to re-home animals and need prospective owners to visit. It is getting crowded: in the aftermath of each major earthquake to hit the country we have expanded piece-meal and there simply isn't anywhere else to go at our current site. We don't have space for a dedicated dog exercise/ play area, so our staff have to walk animals on leads in woodland twice a day - and that makes it very, very labour intensive.

ARK Nose Gallery


We also want to broaden our focus. Rehoming animals and taking animals in that need our help is obviously part of our core work and with your support we will always be there for them. But we want to expand our core activities to put additional emphasis on education: and we don't have the facilities for that at Nose.


We have seen changes in attitudes to animals in Japan over the last 20 years, particularly in the cities, but there is still a very long way to go. Education is critical if we are truly going to better the lot of pet-animals in Japan. We need space for people to come to us, spend time with us and learn. So a Visitors/Education Centre is an absolute priority. 


We have always done more than re-home animals and take animals in. But our outreach work is now increasing: we are trying to go to problems and fix them in-situ, rather than waiting for them to come to us.  (For example, we have just sent a team to build a small cattery, and  in another case have neutered 30 animals.) Our TNR work (Trap, Neuter, Release) is increasing too.


Our new centre will let us do all of these things, and more.  We won't go in to all the details here - click on the links to learn more about it.


About 30 years ago, shelters in the West, (UK, USA, western Europe, Australia and New Zealand) were pretty depressing places; animals kept in lines of cages waiting until space ran out and their time was up. Very few people visited and so since the chance of adoption was slim, animals were euthanised in large numbers.


Then something changed, animal welfare organisation decided that in order to reduce the killing numbers, they needed to change the image of shelters to attract customers; new and attractive logos were brought in with bright colours and the wire cages were replaced by glass fronted enclosures to show the animals in a more attractive light. In fact they were now renamed " rehoming centres" rather than shelters. As a result people began to flock to these centres in search of pets and pet shops were put out of business. This combined with education and low-cost high volume neutering has brought about a dramatic reduction in the killing rate.


Japan has started to change by creating 'aigo centres' but while these places have tried to attract the public with their Disneyesque exteriors, the conditions where the animals are kept and which the public doesn't see, all too often haven't changed at all; bare concrete cells where animals are herded in together to wait their turn for the gas chamber. The number of animals being put up for adoption is still very low. Few Japanese who design and run these centres have seen what has been achieved by welfare organisations overseas. This is in contrast to the recognised and honourable tradition in Japan of looking around the world for "best practice" and applying it.


Dogs Trust Site : Example of Facilities in the UK.


We intend to help bridge this gap. Our new centre will be state-of-the-art, and directly comparable to the best animal welfare centres and refuges in the UK. We hope to educate local government by example, demonstrating "International Best Practice", showing them what is possible and what we think the standard should be.


So if you are thinking 'why should I donate to this?' - then one answer is: you are helping us to set a standard and a benchmark for animal welfare centres and refuges that can be copied across Japan.


We hope you think that that is worth doing.


A lot of the "basic work" for the new centre, at Sasayama, 40 minutes from our current site, has been done: the land has been bought, fenced, with a drainage system and sewerage system installed. The site has been planned in detail and we have all the planning permissions we need. We are now at the stage where the basic underground infrastructure is in place and we are ready to build "above ground". It has cost just shy of 100,000,000 yen so far. (Half of this came from a single, very generous bequest, the remainder has been raised, bit by bit, through fundraising activities.) 


Finishing it will cost a lot more. We need your help. Pretty much everything in the new site is available for "sponsorship". You can sponsor a metre of fence from 10,000yen, right up to whole buildings. All sponsors will have their names on a plaque at the site, with details of what they sponsored. (Or you can be anonymous too of course…!)


See the sidebar for a link to see what is available for sponsorship. Or use the donation links.

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