There is a very interesting article regarding gun control in Japan up at GunCite. It’s a fascinating outline including the history of guns in Japan (did you know at one time Japan had more firearms than any other country on earth?), and I recommend you read the whole thing for historical value, if nothing else.
I have actually met Americans who, after hearing that I work in Japan, make remarks about how “nice it must be to live in a gun-free country”. I usually don’t answer back to stuff like that. It’s really tiring and rarely ever beneficial to either party to start a debate over. In class at Tenri University I once heard a lecture about how violence in America would simply “disappear” if Japan’s gun control laws were adopted. I bit my tongue that time, as well. The bottom line, I believe, is covered by the article very well. Japan’s gun laws (with regard to numbers of shooting incidents) work for Japan. If you want an example of a country where similar ones do not work, look at South Africa. (Ironically, the SA government’s solution to the problems caused by preventing lawful ownership of guns is more gun control legislation.
One insignificant but irritating beef:
No-one shall possess a fire-arm or fire-arms or a sword or swords
This is a ridiculously poor translation. I suspect it may have been done a long time ago by someone currently working in the field of Nigerian mail scamming.