How Japan’s gun violence record compares to other G7 nations

The assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shocked the nation of 125 million people where gun violence is very rare compared to other G7 nations.

Japan has some of the the strictest gun lawIt’s in the democratic world, with strict regulations when it comes to owning guns. According to Small Arms Surveyan independent research firm based in Geneva, Japan is also one of the few countries where civilian gun ownership has declined, in a world where the total number of civilian firearms appears to be increasing, according to the latest data. available from 2017.

from Japan firearms and sword law it was enacted in 1958 and was revised several times, the last revision being in 2008.

In Japan, according to regulations, civilians are not allowed to possess pistols, military rifles, machine guns, large-caliber pistols, imitation firearms, as well as hunting weapons and certain airsoft guns without specific approval.

According to the law, specific types of weapons are allowed, such as shotguns, BB guns, industrial/research weapons, or competition weapons. However, even possession of these is only granted after rigorous scrutiny such as drug tests, written tests, and background checks.

Upon possession, owners must provide additional information on how they plan to store the firearm and have their firearm inspected annually. Gun owners in the country must reapply and requalify for their firearms license every three years, according to the law, and state agencies must maintain records of the storage and movement of all firearms under their control. control. The maximum penalty for illegal possession of a firearm in the country is punishable by 15 years in prison.

A firearm in plain sight in a public place has long been prohibited in Japan, but carrying a concealed firearm is allowed in a public placed, provided you have a valid permit. The minimum age to own weapons in Japan is 18 years.


Compared to other G7 nations, Japan has highly restrictive firearms regulations and a very low firearm death rate. near approximately two-thirds of all gun crimes are committed by organized crime groups.

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Ranked second among the G7, Canada, compared to Japan, has relatively high gun ownership at around 34.7 firearms per hundred residents, according to data from


The data from shows that in a country of 125 million people, fewer than 10 people die annually from gun violence, largely because, aside from the police and military, no one in Japan can legally buy a gun or a gun. rifle.

This is less than a fraction of the deaths from gun violence that occur in other G7 countries.

When looking at gun policies, another important metric to examine is the suicide rate relative to guns, according to Dr. Mohsen Naghavi, a professor of Health Metrics Sciences at the University of Washington. He told in a Zoom interview on Friday that suicide metrics show how accessible firearms are to the general public.

In Japan, due to strict rules and regulations, it is difficult to own a firearm. Although suicide in Japan is relatively high, gun-related suicides are almost negligible, Naghavi added.

Naghavi said another important metric is determining what type of weapon is accessible to the general public. He said Canada has a lot of hunting guns, but in the US, there are comparatively fewer (per capita) and use of automatic weapons and handguns is high.

Annual firearm homicides in Japan it totaled 11, a very small fraction, compared to the US (6,368) and Canada (143) in 2013, the most recent year available on

according to a 2022 University of Washington ReportThe US has always been a clear outlier when it comes to deaths from gun violence. The report showed that while the US had more than four gun homicides per 100,000 people in 2019, Japan had almost zero.

Compared to the rest of the G7 countries, the rate of gun-related deaths per 100,000 people is highest in the US at 12.09% and Japan has the lowest at 0.01% in 2019.

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