Japan Police to Restrict Online Posts on Making Guns

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The National Police Agency in Tokyo

Tokyo (Jiji Press)—Japanese police plan to restrict the act of inciting unlawful possession of guns, such as explaining how to make them on the internet, following the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe by a homemade gun in 2022, officials said Thursday.

The suspected Abe shooter, Tetsuya Yamagami, who is believed to have created multiple guns at home, has said that he learned how to build guns by watching online videos, according to people familiar with the investigation.

The National Police Agency plans to create penalties on malicious online posts regarding the manufacturing and transfer of guns that incite unlawful possession of them.

Of the seven firearms made by Yamagami, one was classified as a gun with a lighter penalty than the others due to its shape. The NPA is considering allowing a tighter penalty to be imposed on homemade guns possessed for the purpose of killing or injuring a person, even if they do not meet the shape requirements.

The NPA will also expand the scope of firearms for which the crime of discharging guns applies, to include hunting guns.

The police agency is also set to tighten the requirements for the possession of a so-called half-rifle hunting gun after one was used in the murder of four people including police officers in the central prefecture of Nagano in May.

Owning a rifle requires possessing a hunting gun license for at least 10 consecutive years, but permits for half-rifles can be obtained even by beginners.