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Japan — Gun Facts, Figures and the Law

StockpilesGun Numbers

Civilian Guns

Number of Privately Owned Firearms

The estimated total number of guns (both licit and illicit) held by civilians in Japan is 710,0001

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) per 100 people in Japan is 0.61

Number of Privately Owned Rifles

ChartIn Japan, the number of rifles in civilian possession is reported to be

2015: 30,3252
2014: 30,920
2013: 32,136
2012: 33,532
2011: 35,006

Number of Privately Owned Shotguns

ChartIn Japan, the number of shotguns in civilian possession is reported to be

2015: 144,9862
2014: 151,104
2013: 159,574
2012: 170,338
2011: 185,165

Number of Privately Owned Handguns

In Japan, the number of handguns in civilian possession is reported to be 773

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, Japan ranked at No. 644

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, Japan ranked at No. 1641

Proportion of Households with Firearms

ChartIn Japan, the percentage of households with one or more guns is reported to be

2005: 0.8%5
2003: 0.3%

Proportion of Households with Handguns

ChartIn Japan, the percentage of households with one or more handguns is reported to be

2005: 0.0%5
2003: 0.0%

Number of Licensed Firearm Owners

ChartThe number of licensed gun owners in Japan is reported to be

2011: 271,0006
2010: 320,0007

Rate of Licensed Firearm Owners per 100 Population

ChartThe rate of licensed firearm owners per 100 people in Japan is

2011: 0.218
2010: 0.25

Number of Registered Firearms

ChartThe number of registered guns in Japan is reported to be

2015: 216,1962
2014: 225,005
2013: 236,979
2012: 251,537
2011: 271,000

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population

The rate of registered guns per 100 people in Japan is 0.328

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of Japan are reported to have 737,5009 firearms

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Japan are reported to have 250,00010 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Total Number of Gun Deaths

ChartIn Japan, annual deaths resulting from firearms total

2014: 611
2011: 3012
2007: 4013
2006: 19
2005: 22
2004: 38
2003: 67

Rate of All Gun Deaths per 100,000 People

ChartIn Japan, the annual rate of all gun deaths per 100,000 population is

2014: 0.008
2011: 0.012
2007: 0.038
2006: 0.01
2005: 0.02
2004: 0.03
2003: 0.05

Total Number of Male Gun Deaths

ChartIn Japan, annual male deaths resulting from firearms total

2014: 2714
2013: 31
2012: 25
2011: 28
2010: 48

Total Number of Female Gun Deaths

ChartIn Japan, annual female deaths resulting from firearms total

2014: 114
2013: 1
2012: 0
2011: 2
2010: 4

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Japan, annual homicides by any means total

2012: 1,02015
2011: 44216 17
2010: 465
2009: 506
2008: 646
2007: 574
2006: 619
2005: 643
2004: 699
2003: 697
2002: 60917
2001: 645
2000: 637
1999: 674
1998: 716
1997: 677
1996: 616
1995: 677

Rate of Homicide per 100,000 People (any method)

ChartIn Japan, the annual rate of homicide by any means per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.418
2012: 0.815
2011: 0.316 17
2010: 0.4
2009: 0.4
2008: 0.516 17 19
2007: 0.5
2006: 0.5
2005: 0.5
2004: 0.6
2003: 0.6
2002: 0.517 19
2001: 0.5
2000: 0.517
1999: 0.5
1998: 0.6
1997: 0.5
1996: 0.5
1995: 0.5
1994: 0.6220

Male Homicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn Japan, annual male homicides by any means total

2014: 18114
2013: 178
2012: 183
2011: 211
2010: 232

Female Homicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn Japan, annual female homicides by any means total

2014: 17614
2013: 164
2012: 200
2011: 204
2010: 205

Gun Homicides

ChartIn Japan, annual firearm homicides total

2013: 1321
2012: 17
2011: 1921 12
2010: 1922 21
2009: 1423 21
2008: 1117
2002: 4724
2001: 56
1997: 3425
1996: 36
1995: 42

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn Japan, the annual rate of firearm homicide per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.018
2012: 0.01
2011: 0.018 12
2010: 0.018
2009: 0.01
2008: 0.017
2002: 0.0424
2001: 0.04
1997: 0.0325
1996: 0.03
1995: 0.03
1994: 0.0226

Proportion of Homicides Committed With a Gun

ChartIn Japan, the percentage of homicides committed with a firearm is reported to be

2012: 2%15
2008: 1.8%17
2002: 6.0%
2001: 7.2%
1997: 4.5%
1996: 5.0%
1995: 5.5%

Male Gun Homicide Victims

ChartIn Japan, annual male firearm homicides total

2015: 314
2014: 3
2013: 9
2012: 3
2011: 9
2010: 8

Female Gun Homicide Victims

ChartIn Japan, annual female firearm homicides total

2015: 114
2014: 1
2013: 1
2012: 0
2011: 2
2010: 1

Handgun Homicides

ChartIn Japan, annual handgun homicides total

2013: 1121
2012: 15
2011: 17
2010: 16
2009: 12

Rate of Handgun Homicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn Japan, the annual rate of handgun homicide per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.018
2012: 0.01
2011: 0.01
2010: 0.01
2009: 0.01

Suicides (any method)

In Japan, annual suicides by any means total

1997: 23,50227

Rate of Suicide per 100,000 People (any method)

ChartIn Japan, the annual rate of suicide by any means per 100,000 population is

1997: 18.4127
1994: 16.7228

Male Suicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn Japan, annual male suicides by any means total

2014: 16,87514
2013: 18,158
2012: 18,485
2011: 19,904
2010: 21,028

Female Suicide Victims (any method)

ChartIn Japan, annual female suicides by any means total

2014: 7,54214
2013: 7,905
2012: 7,948
2011: 8,992
2010: 8,526

Gun Suicides

ChartIn Japan, annual firearm suicides total

2011: 1512
1999: 4727

Rate of Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn Japan, the annual rate of firearm suicide per 100,000 population is

2011: 0.012
1999: 0.0427
1994: 0.0429

Male Gun Suicide Victims

ChartIn Japan, annual male firearm suicides total

2014: 1414
2013: 14
2012: 14
2011: 15
2010: 26

Female Gun Suicide Victims

ChartIn Japan, annual female firearm suicides total

2014: 014
2013: 0
2012: 0
2011: 0
2010: 0

Unintentional Gun Deaths

ChartIn Japan, annual unintentional shooting deaths total

2011: 112
1999: 727

Rate of Unintentional Gun Death per 100,000 People

ChartIn Japan, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death per 100,000 population is

2011: 0.008
1999: 0.0127
1994: 0.0030

Unintentional Male Gun Deaths

ChartIn Japan, annual unintentional male shooting deaths total

2014: 314
2013: 2
2012: 1
2011: 1
2010: 3

Unintentional Female Gun Deaths

ChartIn Japan, annual unintentional female shooting deaths total

2014: 014
2013: 0
2012: 0
2011: 0
2010: 0

Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn Japan, annual shooting deaths in which the cause remains undecided total

2011: 312
1999: 727

Rate of Gun Death from Undetermined Cause per 100,000 People

ChartIn Japan, the annual rate of unknown-cause shooting deaths per 100,000 population is

2011: 0.008
1999: 0.0127
1994: 0.0031

Male Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn Japan, annual male shooting deaths in which the cause remains undecided total

2014: 714
2013: 6
2012: 7
2011: 3
2010: 11

Female Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn Japan, annual female shooting deaths in which the cause remains undecided total

2014: 014
2013: 0
2012: 0
2011: 0
2010: 3

ProductionGun Industry

Regulation of Firearm Makers

In Japan, the manufacture of small arms, ammunition and/or their components is permitted only if the maker holds a valid licence32 33 34

Small Arms Manufacture - World Ranking

In a classification of the world's small, medium and major firearm manufacturers, Japan was ranked 'small'35

Home-made Guns

In Japan, the prevalence of illicit craft, or 'home-made' firearm manufacture is reported to be low36

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Firearm Exports

In Japan, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law37 38 39

Firearm Exports (Number)

ChartThe annual number of firearms exported from Japan is reported by manufacturers to be

2012: 140
2009: 67
2008: 216
2007: 103
2006: 271

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Japan is reported by Customs to be US$73,272,05441 (2011)42 43 44

Small Arms Exports - World Ranking

In a comparison of the world's major/mid-level/minor/unknown small arms exporters, Japan was categorized as 'major'45 46 47 48

Firearm Imports

In Japan, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law37 49 50 18 39

Firearm Imports (Number)

ChartThe annual number of firearms imported to Japan is reported to be

2017: 67640
2016: 539
2015: 300
2014: 1,303
2013: 1,548
2012: 210
2011: 425
2010: 381
2009: 911
2008: 699
2007: 490
2006: 154

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Japan is reported by Customs to be US$27,896,88841 (2011)51 52 53 54 55

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in Japan is negligible56

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In Japan, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are specifically regulated by law57 58 59 60

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in Japan include37 certification of the intended end user of any small arms or ammunition transfer, and/or a written declaration of its intended end use

Transparency of Small Arms Transfers

ChartIn its annual Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer, the Small Arms Survey compares public reporting among major arms exporting nations on a scale from strong to weak (25 to zero). In recent years, Japan scored

2017: 9.2561
2016: 9.2562
2014: 7.0063
2013: 7.5064
2012: 8.5065
2011: 9.0066
2010: 9.0067
2009: 9.5068
2008: 8.5069
2007: 9.0070
2006: 9.0071
2005: 9.7572
2004: 9.5073

MeasuresGun Regulation

Firearm Regulation - Guiding Policy

The regulation of guns in Japan is categorised as restrictive74

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Japan includes the Firearms and Swords Control Law,75 76 50 the Ordnance Manufacturing Law,34 33 the Explosives Control Law,77 78 the Customs Law49 79 and the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Law39

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in Japan are regulated by the Prefectural Public Safety Commission80

Right to Possess Firearms

In Japan, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law81 82 83

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In Japan, civilians are not allowed to possess handguns, hunting guns without specific approval,84 military rifles, machine guns, any gunpowder charged firearm, certain air guns50 and imitation firearms85

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In Japan, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited50 86 15

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In Japan, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is prohibited50 86

Regulation of Handguns

In Japan, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is prohibited, with the exception of accomplished sports shooters87 50 86 15 18

Law Regulates Long Guns

In Japan, civilian possession of rifles and shotguns is regulated by law50 15 18

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Japan, only licensed gun owners84 88 89 15 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Genuine Reason Required for Firearm Possession

Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in Japan are required to establish a genuine reason to possess a firearm, for example hunting, target shooting (with special permission)84 89

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in Japan is 18 years88 89

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in Japan must pass a background check which considers criminal, mental health and addiction84 88 89 15 18 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In Japan, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are not required3

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in Japan does not stipulate3 that a gun licence should be denied or revoked

Firearm Safety Training

In Japan, an understanding of firearm safety and the law, tested in a theoretical and/or practical training course is required84 88 for a firearm licence

Gun Owner Licensing Period

In Japan, gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm licence every three years88 90

Limit on Number of Guns

Licensed firearm owners in Japan are permitted to possess any number of firearms91

Limit on Quantity, Type of Ammunition

Licensed firearm owners in Japan are permitted to possess any quantity of ammunition83

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Japan, the law requires92 37 93 94 that a record of the acquisition, possession and transfer of each privately held firearm be retained in an official register

Gun Dealer Record Keeping

In Japan, licensed firearm dealers are required93 94 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority

Gun Manufacturer Record Keeping

In Japan, licensed gun makers are required32 93 94 to keep a record of each firearm produced, for inspection by a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In Japan, State agencies are required92 95 94 to maintain records of the storage and movement of all firearms and ammunition under their control

Gun Sales and Transfers

Regulation of Private Gun Sales

In Japan, the private sale and transfer of firearms is prohibited96

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In Japan, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful96

Waiting Period for Gun Possession

In Japan, the minimum wait for a lawful firearm purchase to be completed is undetermined83

Regulation of Gun Shows

In Japan, gun shows and temporary firearm dealing events are not regulated83 in law

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in Japan include97 18 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of private firearms and ammunition by licensed gun owners

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Dealer

Firearm regulations in Japan do not include83 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by licensed arms dealers

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Government

Government regulations in Japan include95 97 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in Japan do not include83 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition while in transit

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In Japan, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law32 92 37 94 93

Firearm Tracing

In Japan, state authorities carry out98 94 93 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Ballistic Record of Firearms and Ammunition

In Japan, the ballistic characteristics of each civilian firearm and its ammunition are not83 recorded in a register

Carrying Guns

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In Japan, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is prohibited90 15

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In Japan, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is allowed, subject to a valid permit90 15

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In Japan, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm99 is 15 years in prison50 76 79

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in Japan are known to have100 101 102 implemented voluntary firearm surrender schemes, and/or weapon seizure programmes in order to reduce the number of illicit firearms in circulation

Firearms Surrendered and Seized

ChartIn Japan, the number of firearms voluntarily surrendered, bought back or seized by authorities is reported to be

2015: 383103
2014: 406
2013: 471104
2012: 373104 101
2011: 426104
2010: 397104 105
2009: 407104 106
2007: 548107
2006: 458
2005: 489
2004: 601
2003: 785
1996: 1,035108

Small Arms Destroyed

ChartIn Japan, the number of firearms destroyed following amnesty, collection and seizure programmes is reported to be

2015: 8,44995
2014: 27100
2012: 8,429109 101

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In Japan, it is state policy95 110 to destroy surplus, collected and seized firearms rather than return them to the secondary arms market

MeasuresInternational Controls

Regional Agreements

United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice

The UNCCPCJ, a subsidiary body of the Economic and Social Council mandated to promote action to prevent national and transnational crime, lists111 Japan as an elected member

Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development

The Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development, a diplomatic initiative aimed at addressing the interrelations between armed violence and development, was signed in 2006112 by Japan.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has been signed and ratified113 by Japan

United Nations Firearms Protocol

The United Nations Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition has been signed, but not yet ratified114 by Japan

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, Japan committed to a consensus decision of the United Nations to adopt, support and implement the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects115

UNPoA Implementation Monitor Score

In its UN small arms Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (PoAIM Phase 1), the Small Arms Survey scored Japan against its commitments to the PoA, then ranked it at No. 41116 117 118 119 among 159 Member States

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, Japan has submitted one or more national reports120 60 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In Japan, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated121 60

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Japan, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has not been designated121 60

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of Japan submitted to the UN from 2001 to 2010, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities was apparent60 122

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been donated60 123 by Japan to other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Japan has declared124 its small arms exports in one or more annual National Reports on Arms Exports.

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, Japan has been a Member State of the United Nations since 1956125

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies lists126 Japan as a Participating State

BackgroundCountry Profile

Conflict Profile

For a profile of conflict in Japan, select the Link icon to open an external web page from the UCDP Conflict Encyclopedia at Uppsala University

Global Peace Index

To see where Japan ranks, select the Link icon to open an external web page at the Global Peace Index


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