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Tuesday, 19th February 2013
In Events In Japan,

Guam's gun ranges attract Japanese tourists

Japanese tourists are flocking to Guam to shoot guns which they are prohibited from doing in their own country, unless they have a specific license for hunting or target shooting.

According to an article by the Associated Press, it is the thrill of the forbidden which is driving Japan's citizens to visit Guam.

Tetsuo Yamamoto, a man born in Japan who now runs the Western Frontier Village range on the island, said: "I think it's human nature to be curious about something that is forbidden. Most of our customers are from Japan and have never had the opportunity to shoot a gun. It's very exotic for them, and it's very exhilarating."

Despite Mr Yamamoto's protestations that Japanese citizens are visiting Guam because they find shooting exciting, it's clear that many believe firearms should be kept within the confines of a gun range.

Keigo Takizawa, a Japanese actor, said that shooting a gun gave him "such a feeling of power", although he was quick to add that he doesn't believe "anyone should be allowed to have one of their own".

Under Japanese gun laws, citizens much undergo a test if they are to own a firearm. The Japan Times states that anyone applying for a license to own a gun "must provide medical proof that they are sound of mind and not addicted to stimulants or other drugs. They must also demonstrate good judgement and physical ability".

In 2008, the BBC reported that despite having one of the lowest crime rates of any country, shootings increased by a quarter the previous year.

However, the BBC quoted Norihito Sasada, a man whose job it is to represent gun-owners in Japan, who suggested that the numbers of crimes involving guns in Japan is relatively low.

"I've been involved with guns for 50 years. When I look back, in terms of numbers, there have been relatively few crimes using these weapons.

"I hope people understand that most people keep for sport, and that's the only reason," he said.

Written by Graham McPherson