Japan’s Gun Ownership Rate: A Global Comparison


Japan is widely recognized as one of the safest countries in the world, and one of the reasons behind this is the extremely low rate of gun ownership among its citizens. In fact, Japan boasts one of the lowest gun ownership rates globally, far lower than many other developed nations. This article delves into the current state of gun ownership in Japan and compares it to other countries worldwide.


Japan’s Gun Ownership Rate

According to data from the Small Arms Survey (2017), Japan’s civilian gun ownership rate is a mere 0.3 firearms per 100 people. This figure is remarkably low compared to the global average of 6.6 firearms per 100 people, highlighting the stark difference between Japan and the rest of the world.

Comparing Japan to Other Nations

The low gun ownership rate in Japan becomes even more apparent when compared to other countries. Here are the civilian gun ownership rates per 100 people for several major nations:

  • United States: 120.5
  • Canada: 34.7
  • Germany: 19.6
  • Australia: 14.5
  • United Kingdom: 4.6
  • South Korea: 0.7
  • Japan: 0.3

Japan’s gun ownership rate is the second-lowest among these countries, just slightly higher than South Korea. When compared to the United States, Japan’s rate is less than one-400th, and it is also significantly lower than European countries, with rates less than one-tenth of those nations.

Key Features of Japan’s Gun Control Laws

The low gun ownership rate in Japan can be attributed to the country’s strict gun control laws. To own a firearm in Japan, individuals must undergo a rigorous screening process and meet specific criteria, such as hunting or participating in shooting sports. The storage and handling of firearms and ammunition are also heavily regulated, with severe penalties for violations.

Gun Ownership and Public Safety

Japan’s low gun ownership rate is thought to contribute to the country’s overall safety and security. With gun-related crimes being extremely rare, Japanese citizens can live without fear of gun violence. In contrast, countries like the United States, where gun ownership rates are high, often grapple with the serious social issue of gun violence.


Japan’s gun ownership rate is among the lowest in the world, standing in sharp contrast to many other developed nations. This low rate can be attributed to Japan’s strict gun control laws, which have played a significant role in maintaining public safety. While the approach to gun ownership varies depending on each country’s cultural and social context, Japan’s example offers valuable insights into the relationship between gun control and crime prevention.