Japan’s strict gun laws make shooting a rarity.

Abe wash Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said he was shot dead during a campaign speech in Nara on Friday and remains in critical condition while receiving emergency care.

Gun violence is extremely rare in Japan.

In 2018, Japan, a country of 125 million people, reported only nine deaths from firearms – compared with 39 740 the same year in the United States, according to data compiled by the Sydney School of Public Health at the University of Sydney.

Nancy Snow, Japanese director of the International Industrial Safety Council, said the shooting would change Japan forever.

“Not only is it rare, it’s also culturally incomprehensible,” she told CNN. “The Japanese cannot imagine a gun culture like we have in the United States. This is a moment of silence. I really can’t find the words.”

According to Japanese public broadcaster NHK, citing police, the suspect in Friday’s shooting is a local man in his 40s who used a homemade handgun.

Under Japanese firearms laws, only shotguns and air rifles are allowed to be sold, and handguns are prohibited by law. But getting them is a long and complicated process that requires effort and a lot of patience.

To obtain a firearms license, prospective buyers must attend all-day classes, pass a written test, and pass a shooting range test with at least 95% accuracy. They must also undergo a mental health assessment and drug tests, as well as a thorough background check, including a check on their criminal history, personal debts, involvement in organized crime, and relationships with family and friends.

Upon receipt of the weapon, the owner must register his weapon with the police and provide details of where his weapon and ammunition are stored in separate lockable compartments. Guns must be inspected by the police once a year, and gun owners must retake a course and take an exam every three years to renew their license.

Due to restrictions, the number of private gun owners in Japan remains extremely low.

In 2017, civilians in Japan in a country of 125 million people only owned about 377,000 weapons. This was 0.25 guns per 100 people compared to about 120 guns per 100 people in the US. Overview of small armsproject of the Higher Institute for International Research and Development in Geneva.

The last known public assassination of a politician in Japan took place in 2007, when the mayor of Nagasaki, Ikcho Ito, was shot at least twice in the back at point-blank range by an alleged gangster. He died after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Since then, Japan has further tightened gun control, imposing harsher penalties for gun offenses committed by members of organized crime groups.

Under the amendment, possession of a weapon as part of an organized crime syndicate can lead to imprisonment for up to 15 years; Possession of more than one weapon is also a crime with a prison sentence of up to 15 years. Meanwhile, discharging weapons in a public place can lead to a life sentence.