Sunday 25, September 2022

‘Gun-free’ Japan stunned by Abe killing

News Desk: Japan struggled with shock and sadness yesterday, trying to come to terms with the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a nation where firearms are strictly regulated and political violence extremely rare.

From politicians to ordinary people, there was an outpouring of grief.

Japan's gun-ownership restrictions do not allow private citizens to have handguns, and licensed hunters may own only rifles. Gun owners must attend classes, pass a written test and undergo a mental health evaluation and a background check.

Shootings, when they occur, typically involve "yakuza" gangsters using illegal weapons. Japan has had mass killings, but they usually have not involved guns.

Attacks on politicians, though, are unusual. There have been only a handful in the last half century, most notably in 2007 when the mayor of Nagasaki was shot and killed by a gangster - an incident that resulted in still further tightening of gun regulations.

"I can't stop shaking. This is the end of peaceful Japan," wrote Twitter user Nonochi.

"There's plenty of politicians I'd like to see disappear, but assassination is inconceivable. It's the beginning of the end of democracy."


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