A brown bear walks along a road in the town of Shari, Hokkaido, on April 22, 2023.
A 58-year-old man was killed in a suspected bear attack in Japan on Friday, according to Japanese media.

Construction worker Yasuhiro Kobayashi was found dead in a forest in Shinanomachi, Nagano Prefecture in central Japan, according to local police.

The man had large scratches on his face and back and police are investigating the possibility of a bear attack, Japanese broadcaster NHK reported.

According to local police, Mr Kobayashi was found by a colleague who had been searching for him after he had gone to a work site the day before and not returned.

Shinanomachi is a mountain-surrounded town known for its beautiful natural scenery.

According to NHK, four other people have been attacked by bears in Nagano Prefecture this month, with injuries ranging from minor to serious.

The prefecture has issued a "Black Bear Sighting Warning" for the entire prefecture, urging people not to enter the mountains at dawn and dusk when bears are most active, NHK reported.

The attack is the latest incident in a surge of bear attacks on humans in Japan.

Japan recorded 219 bear attacks on people in the 12 months leading up to March this year, including six fatalities.

It was the highest number of incidents and sightings since records began in 2006.