Gun-Related Crime In "No-Guns" Japan

Japan has among the strictest gun control laws in the world. They also have a very odd culture from a western standpoint. Fascinating in many ways, but odd.

That culture, however, actually seems to contribute a great deal to their relatively low crime rates. However, that doesn’t mean there’s no crime.

It also seems that Japanese criminals have odd ways around the lack of firearms in the country.

On a Monday morning, an incident occurred near the US Kadena Air Base in central Okinawa City that highlights something of a trend – the result of Japan gun laws, considered some of the strictest in the world.

A man, brandishing what appeared to be a gun, broke into the Lucky Exchange Center. The man thrust the apparent weapon at a shop employee, ordering she hand over cash. His reported demands – which were surprisingly polite – included “5 million yen, please.”

Yet before he could receive any of his desired spoils, the Lucky Exchange employee reached for a phone to call the 110, and the man fled the scene. Shortly thereafter, the Okinawa Police were dispatched on emergency deployment, fanning out in search of the attempted robber.

By 3PM on the same day, a suspect – a Japanese man in his 50s – was in custody. Aided by security camera footage from the surrounding area, the police ascertained the make of the man’s getaway car. This led them to the suspect, living in the village of Kitanakagusuku, around half an hour away from the scene of the crime. The police arrested the suspect on suspicion of failed robbery and breaking-and-entering. Police told reporters that “there was no doubt” that this was the failed robber in question.

As for the man’s weapon? In the end, it turned out to be nothing but a model gun. While this might raise eyebrows in countries like the USA, the situation in Japan is a bit different; the idea that someone would try to rob a store with a plastic toy is, if anything, almost par for the course. After all – how would they get a real gun in the first place?

Well, it doesn’t actually raise eyebrows here because I’ve seen numerous cases of people using toy guns to commit robberies. It ain’t unique to Japan.

As for how would someone get a real gun in the first place, you’re deluded if you think none of the criminals of Japan don’t have firearms. They’re just less likely to use them than our idiotic criminals. Some of that might be because of the laws there, sure, but only an idiot would assume that they don’t have them.

However, what I do notice that fails to be mentioned in this particular crime is that the employee was in no position to fight back.

See, this is apparently a store, the kind of place that could easily face a robbery here in the U.S. Because of Japanese gun laws, no one had any means to fight back. They had to gamble it wasn’t a real gun. What if it had been? Well, they’d be dead.

For some, this is somehow preferable, but how is being a victim better? I don’t care if it’s a model gun or a very real one, having a barrel shoved in your face by someone demanding money is the problem and turns people into victims. Being able to protect yourself–something the law-abiding of Japan cannot do–is the only real way to prevent such a thing.

Meanwhile, this crime likely won’t be counted as a “gun crime” since it wasn’t a real weapon, thus allowing the country to pretend they don’t have any issues.