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Japan to ban powerful toy air guns+
[February 05, 2006]

Japan to ban powerful toy air guns+

(Japan Economic Newswire Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)TOKYO, Feb. 6_(Kyodo) _ The National Police Agency has decided to ban the ownership of powerful toy air guns in order to curb incidents involving such guns being remodeled to give them killing power, agency officials said Sunday.

The agency will submit legislation to revise the firearm control law to the ongoing Diet session so a violator will face imprisonment of up to one year or a fine of up to 300,000 yen, they said.

According to the agency, 165 injury and assault cases involving air guns have been reported in Japan since 2003.

An air gun operates by means of compressed air and normally takes plastic bullets. But it can shoot metallic bullets if the gun is replaced with a more powerful spring. Remodeling manuals as well as remodeled air guns are now available for sale on the Internet, agency officials said.

The number of air gun enthusiasts in Japan is estimated at more than 1 million, with more than 4 million air guns in circulation, according to the agency.

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