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Japan Looking to Ease Gun Laws?

Maybe I shouldn’t have changed the blog name:

Farmers in rural areas have been reporting increasing damage to their crops by wild boar, deer and other animals. To make firearms more accessible, a bill that would loosen the currently tight restrictions on hunting rifles has been proposed in the Diet. But, the Sankei Shimbun (Dec 4) reports, the police remain adamantly opposed to changes in the law.

You hear this a lot in foreign countries, but you have to wonder how often it’s true that “police” opposition in these countries is also nothing but political appointees.

7 Responses to “Japan Looking to Ease Gun Laws?”

  1. Chris says:

    The last year I was in Japan, the Mayor of Nagasaki was shot in the back by a gangster who was upset about his car being damaged at a construction site.

    It’s actually pretty surreal to walk around seeing gangsters, who are notoriously violent, and being totally helpless to defend yourself. Also the police will absolutely not intervene if the Yakuza are involved, you can call them, they wont come.

    Of course gun control works and the police will protect you.

    It’s one of the reasons I don’t live there anymore.

  2. Harold says:

    To amplify on what Chris said, the police are not hardly as powerful in Japan as one might think. E.g. the LDP cut a deal with the Yakuza back in the ’50s such that if the Yakuza would suppress Communists (especially in labor unions as I recall) they would be allowed to continue business as usual as long as they didn’t step too far out of bounds (don’t know if shooting a Mayor like this constitutes that).

    Thus they have, or so I have heard, office fronts and business cards (the latter are very important in Japan). The police are just another powerful group that also has informal boundaries on what they can do. For more details of this thesis (which is congruent with everything I’ve independently learned about Japan) read The Enigma of Japanese Power: People and Politics in a Stateless Nation.

    As for their support of gun control, I believe it, the country’s current gun control regime goes back to 1588 (sic); the Wikipedia article on the general concept mentioned that “By 1553, there were more arquebuses per capita in Japan than in any other country. Since they required much less training than longbows, they were essential to the unification of Japan under Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu.

    Hideyoshi ordered the “Sword Hunt” (that was the major focus, but it included all weapons); ironically he was a peasant who had fought his way to the top and then ensured he would be the last who could do that. He died campaigning in Korea, resulting Ieyasu establishing the formal bakufu, “military government”, more commonly known as the Tokugawa Shogunate, which by and large held Japan in status until Commodore Perry and all that (and retained a formal monopoly on firearms).

    It’s hard to overstate the depth and persistence of the changes wrought by this period, especially as it immediately followed the Sengoku jidai, sometimes called the Warring States period following a similar one China but as I recall more accurately translated as something like “the country in civil war”, which was far worse and lasted a century and a half.

    Bottom line: I can think of no less fertile grounds for a citizen gun culture of any sort than Japan (although that of course is in part due to my serious study of it for decades, perhaps there are even worse examples).

    • Harold says:

      Arrgh: the official allowed 2.5 minutes of editing is actually shorter than that (sometime before the end you’re forbidden to make changes with a “you do not have permission” error, even if you’re finishing an edit and the time in theory is not up), and is too short to begin with.

      An important correction italicized:

      He died campaigning in Korea, resulting in Ieyasu establishing the formal bakufu, “military government”, more commonly known as the Tokugawa Shogunate, which by and large held Japan in stasis until Commodore Perry and all that (and retained a formal monopoly on firearms).

  3. Sage Thrasher says:

    You get a lot of similar statements from police regarding guns in many parts of this country. Everybody loves a monopoly on power.

  4. Harold says:

    Everybody loves a monopoly on power.

    Well, perhaps “most everybody”, but certainly not all police in the USA.

    My required Missouri conceal carry license class was taught entirely by active duty police officers and while there was obvious self-selection in their choosing to do this on a weekend day they obviously supported citizen concealed carry (which had a very belated start in Missouri in 2004). The lead teacher had been a Joplin cop for 30 or so years before retiring from that and becoming the police chief of a Joplin suburb of sorts with 7.5K residents (he also had good taste in M1911s, obviously defined as admiring mine :-).

    Or take this summary of a statement made by Joplin police about a woman who defended herself against 3 home invaders with a knife a month or so ago, “Officers say she had every right to use violence to protect herself.

    But of course this is one of the Reddest Red State parts of America, even worthy Democrats don’t win elections here (which is not an entirely good thing, but in my experience single party government by Republicans is a whole lot better than Democrats, e.g. the Boston metro area).

  5. Sage Thrasher says:

    True enough, Harold. I was thinking specifically of recent statements by state & LA police in California.

  6. MicroBalrog says:

    So how likely is this to actually be enacted into law? Are members of Dai-Nippon Ryoyukai available for comment on this?

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