View Full Version : Japanese weapon laws

Jody Holeton
8th February 2002, 02:21
Hi all!

I am aware that in Japan you need a special license to own a sword, a rifle and even a hangun.

I am concerned about other weapon laws AND where I can get accurate information on them.

In Michigan I can carry a 3 inch pocket knife AND have pepper spray.

Can I carry a knife in Japan? I have seen switchblades and gravity knives in stores in Tokyo and Kyoto. I have also seen ALOT of gun replicas over there.

Can I carry pepper spray in Japan?

Yes, I know how safe Japan is. I also know how dangerous some schools are over there and KNOWING more about what I'm getting into always helps.

Thanks, any help would be appreciated--Jody

Steven Malanosk
8th February 2002, 02:38
I know that in Okinawa, we could not carry a lock blade knife of any size, and anything under a 2 inch blade was illegal to carry. I cannot comment with any authority on pepper spray, but if your not a citizen of Japan, I highly doubt that you could carry such a thing legally, even if Japanese nationals could.

8th February 2002, 02:41

No bladed Weapons over certain length to be carried as Steven sez.

Pepper Spray I think is also forbidden, but I know that you can buy it anyway.

Jeff Hamacher
8th February 2002, 06:26

watch your step with weapons in your potential new post. take it from someone who's been working in the japanese public school system for a total of almost 5 years.

i can't imagine under any circumstances being allowed to carry the types of weapons that you describe at a school. you may well be aware of various reports on how japanese school teachers continue to use corporal punishment in spite of the fact that it's outlawed, but i wouldn't expect to use physical force on a student, even one who is attacking you, and keep your job. as Steven points out, the standards for japanese and non-japanese are different.

the best solution is to avoid coming into conflict with your students. if you end up in a crap school(s), don't challenge or confront misbehaving students, even if their distractions in your classes are driving you nuts. don't ever try to play teacher; you don't have the language skills to pull it off, and besides, most japanese students are sick to death of teachers telling them off. the last thing they want to hear is more admonishment. the upside is that, as an ALT, you don't have any such responsibility. let the japanese faculty play the bad guys.

the bottom line is that you won't find any opportunity to use a blade or even pepper spray in your workplace without threatening your employment at best, or taking a chance of arrest and deportation at worst. and after almost 6 years of living here, i can't imagine carrying a weapon to be any advantage to personal protection when out in public, unless you're very skilled in its use and are 110% sure that you will not be identified and found by the police. if the boys in blue snatch you up you can almost guarantee yourself arrest or worse. check out Tony Kehoe's "Racism in Japan" thread; that should be all the warning any ex-pat in japan needs.

BTW, what sources of information have got you so worried about the public school environment over here? i'd like to know what they say.

Chris Li
8th February 2002, 07:28
Originally posted by Jody Holeton
Can I carry a knife in Japan? I have seen switchblades and gravity knives in stores in Tokyo and Kyoto. I have also seen ALOT of gun replicas over there.

It's illegal to carry any knife with a blade over 60 mm in Japan (about 2 and one quarter inches), which is pretty small. Here's the catch - the way the law is written the police can arrest you for carrying even a smaller knife if you can't establish some kind of valid reason for carrying it. This was done (I believe) in response to people who would carry box cutters which, basically being razor blades, were under the length limit. I really wouldn't recommend carrying any kind of weapon in Japan.

FWIW, my daughter goes to public school just outside Tokyo with no problems at all.