Laws in Japan make it extremely difficult to buy a gun. There’s an all-day class and shooting range class requirement, as well as a written test, mental test and drug test to pass. The result: low firearm ownership.
Unsurprisingly, Japan's firearm homicide rate is way lower than that of the US. In 2008, only 11 people in Japan died of a firearm-related homicide, compared to 12,000 in the US. Other factors at play are Japan’s effective policing and low poverty rates.
Japan’s trends of low gun availability and low homicide rate are broadly consistent with results from Harvard researchers on gun ownership and homicide across 26 developed countries.