GENEVA – Japan was the world’s fourth-largest importer of small arms in 2001, bringing in $151 million worth of items mainly for the Self-Defense Forces, according to a study released Wednesday by a Geneva-based institute.
The study, which is titled “Small Arms Survey 2004: Rights at Risk” and was compiled by the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, also shows that Japan ranked ninth among countries exporting nonmilitary small weapons, such as hunting rifles.
The findings of the study contradict the efforts of the Japanese government to promote the reduction of small arms at the United Nations.
According to customs-cleared statistics provided mainly by the United Nations, the export value of small arms worldwide in 2001 — the latest year for which data are available — stood at $2.4 billion.
Together with the import value, the total amount of authorized trade in small arms was estimated at $4 billion.
According to the study, the United States topped both the import and export lists, with Italy, Belgium and Germany trailing behind it on the export list.
On the list of small arms importers, Japan followed the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Cyprus. Tokyo’s main suppliers include the United States, Germany and Italy, with the main types of small arms and light weapons traded being military weapons, ammunition, shotguns and pistols, the study shows.