The government, at a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, adopted a bill aimed at introducing a permit system for the possession of crossbows in Japan.
The bill to revise the swords and firearms control act calls for limiting the possession of crossbows for purposes such as shooting sports and veterinary anesthesia.
Violators will be given a prison term or a fine. Those who already own a crossbow will also be subjected to the revised act.
The government will submit the bill to the ongoing session of the Diet.
The revised law will define a crossbow as a bow that uses a locking mechanism to maintain a draw of the string and can harm human lives by releasing an arrow.
The definition applies to the least powerful crossbows that are currently available in Japan, according to the National Police Agency.
People who want to possess a crossbow need to gain a permission from a local public safety commission. They will be obliged to keep their crossbows in lockers or other appropriate storage facilities.
The use of crossbows will be limited to such places as firing ranges, and those under the age of 18 and drug addicts will not be allowed to possess them.
Crossbow dealers need to be registered with a local public safety commission, and will be obliged to check crossbow possession permissions when selling the weapon.
Crossbow owners without permission will face a prison term of up to three years or a fine of up to ¥500,000.
The revised law is set to take effect within nine months after the Diet enacts the legislation.
Existing crossbow owners need to apply for permission, or dispose of the weapon, within six months after the revised act takes effect.
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