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Cats are king on Japanese island

Wednesday March 4th 2015

Cat lovers may soon be flocking to a remote island in the south of Japan where there are around six times as many moggies as humans.

The people of Aoshima, also known as Cat Island, originally brought the cats in to help deal with the mice on fishermen's boats.

But cat numbers have multiplied over the past half a century to over 120, while only five people remain from a population of 900 70 years ago.

These are largely pensioners who stayed put when their neighbours migrated to Japan's large cities at the end of World War Two.

Day-trippers making the half-hour ferry trip from the mainland to Aoshima delight at the abundance of cats. This is despite the fact that there are no tourism facilities such as shops, restaurants or even cars.

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Copyright Press Association 2015