Guns not banned in Japan but they are strictly regulated

After the assassination of Shinzo Abe, some online users claimed that Japan had banned guns in the country. That’s wrong, but they are strictly regulated.

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated on Friday July 8 on a street in Nara, Japan, by a gunman who opened fire on him from behind as he was delivering a campaign speech.

Police at the scene arrested Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, a former member of the Japanese Navy, on suspicion of murder. Police said he used what appeared to be a homemade weapon and they confiscated similar weapons and his PC when they searched his nearby home.

After news of the murder broke, some online users claimed that guns were banned in the country and questioned how the attack happened.

Lavern Spicer, a Florida congressional candidate, tweeted: “How was Shinzo Abe assassinated when guns are banned in Japan? Liberals, would you like to explain?” As of July 8, the tweet had 11,000 likes and more than 2,000 retweets.


Are guns completely banned in Japan?



That's wrong.

No, guns are not completely banned in Japan, but they are heavily regulated. Some individuals can still purchase specific firearms but require a special license.


Handguns are banned in Japan, but if someone applies for a special permit and goes through a rigorous application process, they could possess certain firearms, such as shotguns and airguns, according to Japan’s National Police Agency.

Possession of parts used to assemble a gun is also prohibited except in certain cases, such as possession by people with handgun licenses, the law states.

Firearms licenses are issued for specific guns for specific uses, such as hunting or exterminating harmful birds or animals, the law says. Licenses cannot be issued to persons with criminal records and a history of drug addiction. Concealed or homemade weapons are prohibited in the country.

Those wishing to own firearms must undergo a rigorous background check, including clearance by a doctor, and provide details of family members. They must also pass shooting and hunting tests to show they know how to use firearms properly. If you come and buy a gun, you also have to buy a special locking system for the gun at the same time.

According to, which compiles data on global firearms policies, 310,400 registered privately owned firearms were reported in Japan in 2019. Japan has a population of more than 125 million. Only one in 400 residents of Japan owns a gun.

In 2021, the country had 10 gun-related crimes, resulting in a single death and four injured.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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