47. Firearms And Swords Control Law

The objective of this law is to prevent harm that may arise from use of firearms, swords and the like and to secure public safety by establishing necessary restrictions on their possession.

In principle, the possession of firearms and swords is prohibited (Article 3). Possession is allowed as an exception only if approval is obtained from the Prefectural Public Safety Commission in the case of vendors of hunting guns and so on (Artice 4, etc.). Furthermore, possession of pistol parts is prohibited except in certain cases, such as ownership by persons with pistol licenses (Article 3-3).
The possession of model pistols and imitation guns for the purpose of sale is also prohibited in principle (Article 22-2 and 22-3).
Firearms and swords falling under artwork are required to be registered with the Prefectural Board of Education (Articles 14).

Enforcement Order of the Firearms and Swords Control Law
Enforcement Regulations of the Firearms and Swords Control Law
Firearms and Swords Registration Regulations

1) Items Covered
Firearms, swords, model pistols, imitation guns

2) Outline of the Control
i. Content of the Control
Licenses for possession of firearms are issued for specific guns for certain applications such as hunting or eradication of noxious birds or animals, etc. Persons with criminal records, and drug addicts, etc. are disqualified and cannot be issued licenses. Furthermore, concealed guns and structural parts and/or functions of the same which do not meet legal standards are not allowed.
The registration of firearms is available for old-fashioned guns such as matchlock type firearms which are valuable as works of art or antiques (generally those manufactured before 1867 in Japan or brought to Japan from overseas).
Licenses for possession of swords are issued for individual swords for specific applications such as hunting, eradication of noxious birds and animals, slaughter of animals, fishing or construction, cases where possession is unavoidable due to Japanese customs and practice, cases where possession is unavoidable for plays or other artistic performances, and cases where such items are used for display in museums. The reasons for disqualification of ownership are substantially the same as that of firearms. No license is given for concealed swords.
The registration of swords is available for swords which are valuable as works of art, however only Japanese swords have been examined.
In addition to possession through the above licenses or registration, certain firearms may be owned by manufacturers of weapons, etc. licensed by the Minister of International Trade and Industry, vendors of hunting guns licensed by the prefectural governors, vendors of whaling harpoon guns which have been certified by the Prefectural Public Safety Commission, etc. Several types of firearms and swords whose possession is possible are also designated.
The possession of model handguns and possession of imitation guns for the purpose of sale are allowed only for manufacturers that export products or their vendors which have properly notified the Public Safety Commission.

ii. Procedure for Application
Any person wishing to obtain a license shall apply to the Prefectural Public Safety Commission (through the police station) for an examination, whereas any person wishing to obtain registration shall apply to the Prefectural Board of Education and receive an appraisal at a designated time and place.

iii. Certification System
Licenses for possession are granted by the Prefectural Public Safety Commission or registered through administered by the Prefectural Board of Education.

(Liaison Offices for Further Information)
Firearms Division, Community Safety Bureau, Safety Department, National Police Agency
Tel: 03-3581-0141(Ext. 3294) http://www.npa.go.jp
Fine Arts Division, Cultural Properties Department, Agency for Cultural Affairs
Tel: 03-5253-4111 (Ext. 2887) http://www.bunka.go.jp