Private ownership of pistols is completely prohibited in Japan.

The shooting of former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe in Nara has shocked the nation, not only because of the 67-year-old politician’s fame, but because of how incredibly rare gun violence is in Japan. Now another startling detail has emerged regarding the type of firearm used in the attack.

Though Japan has extremely strict gun control laws, gun ownership is allowed in Japan for those who pass the necessary safety and handling tests, as well as background checks and psychological examinations. However, with Japan’s extremely low violent crime rate, the provisions for gun ownership aren’t there for people who want a gun as protection against burglars or muggers. Instead, guns are allowed for those who might need to shoot a wild animal, either as part of hunting activities or because they live in a rural area where wildlife such as bears or wild boards could be a threat.

Because of that, gun ownership in Japan is limited to rifles and shotguns. However, the Nara Prefectural Police are saying that the weapon used in the attack on Abe was a pistol, a class of firearm for which private ownership is completely banned in Japan.

Due to their entirely illegal status, when incidents involving pistols do occur in Japan, there’s often an organized crime element to them. However, it appears that the weapon used in the attack on Abe was not smuggled into the country or purchased on the black market, but was instead made by the assailant himself. 41-year-old Nara resident and former Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force member Tetsuya Yamagami, the suspected shooter who was apprehended on site, was in possession of a forearm-length apparatus with two lengths of pipe attached side-by-side to a board with electrical tape, which appears to be some sort of crude home-made firearm.

Police have yet to release any statement regarding a motive.

Source: Kyodo via Hachima Kiko, Nitele News (1, 2), FNN Prime Online, News Post Seven
Top image: Wikipedia/Lee Gok Da
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.