EIGHTY-TWO bear attacks were reported from April to the end of September, easily topping the 52 reported for the entire previous fiscal year, according to the Environment Ministry.

The number of victims of the attacks - 84 -also comfortably eclipsed the 64 victims from fiscal 2009.

A string of bear attacks this month has the figure for this fiscal year on track to top the 113 victims in fiscal 2004 or even the 150 of fiscal 2006.

Iwate and Nagano prefectures each have reported 12 bear attacks, followed by Fukushima (seven), Akita (six) and Gunma (six).

An official of the ministry's Wildlife Division has urged people to exercise caution when going near areas where bears look for food to sustain themselves during hibernation.

'We're more likely to come across bears around this time of year as they search for enough nutrition before going into hibernation,' the official said.

'People should be very careful when gathering edible wild plants or going into the wild to view the autumn foliage.'

82 bear attacks in 6 months