Whenever someone mentions Japan in the context of gun control, there’s always a quick test I do on an article to determine whether it’s going to make a viable argument. And it’s quite simple: look for “General Order”. If that phrase isn’t in the article, the author is being disingenuous.
“General Order” refers to General Order No. 1, the first order given by Gen. Douglas MacArthur following the Japanese surrender. With regard to gun control, this paragraph is of note from Article I:
The Japanese Imperial General Headquarters further orders its Commanders in Japan and abroad to disarm completely all forces of Japan or under Japanese control wherever they may be situated, and to deliver intact and in safe and good condition all weapons and equipment at such times and at such places as may be prescribed by the Allied Commanders indicated above.
In other words, the Allies ordered the Japanese disarmed. Since the whole idea of a surrender is to, also, make sure your enemy can’t come back at you. We also occupied Japan for about 7 years following the surrender to ensure compliance with all Allied orders. And we were using them as a military staging ground for the Korean War during the latter years of that occupation, but I digress.
Along with the complete disarmament of the Japanese (with exception to the police forces), the Allies also rewrote Japan’s constitution. If you look at the Constitution of Japan from that era, you’ll notice one thing missing: no protection for the right to bear arms.
So with Japan starting with a clean slate and having a new Constitution that doesn’t protect the right to keep and bear arms, is it no surprise that they don’t have anywhere near the gun problem as the United States or… any other country for that matter? Seems pretty straightforward.
But it also means Japan can’t be used as a model for gun control in the US. Since we are never going to get to complete disarmament here. Nor should we try. Though plenty of people on the left are definitely trying.