Expert shares Japan’s secret for few gun-related deaths

Long Lunch 21/02/2018
Photo: Getty.

Japan’s reputation as one of the safest nations in the world could be attributed to both its culture and strict gun control policy, according to one expert.

The latest US shooting in Florida has prompted another wave of calls for action from the US government, with many outlets pointing to Japan as an example of the benefits of gun control.

The Florida shooter, who was charged with 17 deaths, was suspected of unleashing one of the deadliest school shootings in US history.

Philip Alpers, firearms researcher, joined Wendyl Nissen on The Long Lunch to shed light on American gun violence and what the country can learn from gun control policies across the world.

The US has long been the host of a debate between those who want to protect the Constitutional right to bear arms and those who want to eliminate further gun violence of innocent victims in schools.

School shootings in Japan, however, are virtually non-existent.

The gun is to violence as the mosquito is to malaria.

Japan has one of the lowest rates of gun crime in the world, with a whopping six gun deaths in 2014. In comparison, the US totalled 33,599 gun related deaths the same year.

“Their secret is that they have very very few guns,” Mr Alpers said.

According to Mr Alpers, Japan shares similar levels of violence featured in its television and video games, along with similar mental health issues and street violence.

“What they don’t have is lethal violence,” he told RadioLIVE.

Only licensed gun owners can lawfully possess a gun in Japan, according to If a Japanese citizen wants to own a gun, they must attend a class, pass a written test, and achieve at least 95% accuracy during a shooting-range test.

They also must pass a mental health evaluation, and are restricted to shotguns and air rifles. 

“It was generally agreed in Japan that they would not go down ‘the American path’,” he said

Mr Alpers also pointed out that Australia and New Zealand both have gun sports that require a firearm, but aren’t impacted by the strict laws set forth to protect citizens.

Listen to the full interview with Philip Alpers above. 

Afternoon Talk with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.