Japan trading freedom for safety and getting neither?

I usually agree with Joseph Farah, but I think he needs to take a deep breath and honestly assess the gun control situation in Japan. Here’s an excerpt:

A 25-year-old Tokyo man, describing himself as “tired of living,” yesterday killed seven and injured 12 more people…Japan has among the very strictest gun control laws in the world. And that is precisely why one disturbed young man with a truck and a knife could wreak such carnage in a bustling neighborhood.

Tomohiro Kato drive his truck into a crowd of pedestrians shortly after noon, then jumped out of his vehicle and began stabbing any strangers he could reach.

…People who believe gun control will result in less violence should be forced to live in societies where only criminals have guns – or where, like in Japan, police have broad search-and-seizure latitude to hunt down any illicit weapons.

…There are really only two alternatives to a free society that respects the right of armed self-defense: One is chaos and anarchy and the other is a repressive police state like the people of Japan live under.

…We can learn from Japan, all right.

The lesson to be learned is not to repeat the mistakes that country has made on guns – trading freedom for safety and getting neither.

I agree with his logic as it pertains to the situation in the United States, but not in Japan. Handgun ownership has never been legal in Japan. People here in Japan don’t need guns to defend themselves, because criminals do not have guns. If there has been a trade-off between freedom and safety, I’d say Japan has definitely ended up with greater safety. Does anyone want to compare violent crime rates between the US and Japan? When was the last time there was a school shooting in Japan? Does Mr. Farah think that Japan should legalize guns so that they can prevent the rare incident like the above from happening and instead have to deal with random shootings like in the US?

There’s no way to get rid of handguns in the US without jeopardizing the rights of law-abiding citizens. I’d never support that in the US, but there’s no good reason for Japan to legalize guns. It is a safer country without guns. Any country is going to be safer without guns. You can’t argue otherwise. It just makes no logical sense that having wide availability of weapons that can kill several people all at once and from a distance can create a better situation.

And where does he get the idea that Japan is a “repressive police state?” I’ve lived here for seven years now, and I don’t feel repressed. I’ve never been searched for weapons, either. This is a poorly researched and poorly put together article. I’m surprised to see Mr. Farah’s name on it.

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7 Responses to “Japan trading freedom for safety and getting neither?”

  1. Lincoln says:

    I can’t remember which country but it was, but it had one of the highest gun ownership rates but also one of the lowest violent crime rates as well. The State of Maine has the highest gun ownership rate in the US but a crime rate 1/3 below the national average.

    Does look like Farah jumped the gun there though. :D But I suspect if gun ownership were allowed in Japan the crime rate would still stay basically the same. It’s a monolithic culture that keeps its women in line, not much reason for there to be violence under those circumstances. ;) besides they project most of it into their anime, which has some mad psycho sh*& like I’ve never seen. Oy!

    You know what has the lowest concentration of violent crimes, murders and rapes even better than Japan? Saudi Arabia. Weird.

    But it seems like the more feminist a society becomes, the more violent it gets. Makes sense though, since women are responsible for most of the world’s problems after all.


  2. casey says:

    Comparing crime statistics always produces conflicting results, because there are just so many factors that come into play. I’d bet that the violent crime rate in Maine is higher than Tokyo, though. What really shocked me was Farah acting like a guy running through a crowd of pedestrians in a truck was a horrendous thing that could be prevented by legalizing guns. If that’s the case, what’s the great weapon that’s going to prevent school shootings? These types of mass killings are I think a thousand times less common in Japan. Legalizing guns here is not going to change anything.

  3. Ash75 says:

    When guns were tightly restricted in the UK and Australia, two countries much more similar to the U.S. than Japan, crime sky-rocketed for the first 5 years or so. I don’t know how it is now though.

    Knife attacks are on the rise here in Japan, but it’s still much safer than the U.S. as you said. There are many factors contributing to this, but I highly doubt arming the public with guns would do any good at this point.

    It sounds like Mr. Farah was too anxious to jump on this story as positive evidence for firearms advocates.

  4. casey says:

    Yeah, that’s what I think, too. He really wanted this to prove a point…and it may have if we were talking about a place in the US that had banned guns. You can’t use other countries as evidence, though. Too many things are different. With Australia and the UK, you have countries where criminals had guns, too. You outlaw guns, and the only ones who have guns are going to be the criminals. That’s a bad situation to have. Somehow you’d have to make sure that you were going to be able to get all the guns out of the bad guys’ hands, too, if you wanted to ban guns once they were already in the public’s hands. I don’t have any doubt that the crime rate will rise in such situations. But in Japan, the criminals don’t have guns, either. I definitely do not think arming the public in Japan is going to make it safer to walk the streets.

  5. Ash75 says:

    >But in Japan, the criminals don’t have guns, either.

    Although the yakuza has plenty of guns, but you won’t find any common street punks with them as far as I know.

    And about the “police state” thing, I don’t know of anyone having their houses searched by police, but I think routine searches may have been common up until the mid 80s or so. I remember watching a documentary on Japan a long time ago that made a point of house to house police searches (or “check-ups”) being a routine thing here.

  6. casey says:

    The yakuza aren’t your normal criminals, though. You don’t mess with them, they don’t mess with you. I’ve never heard of a yakuza murdering a regular citizen, robbing a bank, engaging in drive-by shootings, etc.

    If house searches were common in the 80’s, then Farah’s info is really outdated! Thanks for the info, though. I’d never heard of that before.

  7. Ash75 says:

    >The yakuza aren’t your normal criminals, though.

    That’s a good point. And apparently there aren’t that many of them.

    >If house searches were common in the 80’s, then Farah’s info is really outdated! Thanks for the info, though. I’d never heard of that before.

    I don’t know how accurate that is. It’s just what I vaguely recall from a documentary, but it did strike me as weird at the time.