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Gun used in Tokyo teen's suicide likely belonged to late father with Foreign Ministry job

Metropolitan Police Department investigators examine the area around the home where the boy was found collapsed, in the suburban Tokyo city of Hachioji on the morning of June 8, 2020. (Mainichi/Takuya Suzuki)

TOKYO -- The handgun with which a high school student boy shot himself to death at his home in the Japanese capital in June likely belonged to his deceased father, investigators have found.

    Sources close to the investigation quoted the 15-year-old boy's mother as saying, "I think the handgun belonged to his father."

    The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) on July 31 sent papers accusing the deceased boy of violating the Act for Controlling the Possession of Firearms or Swords and Other Such Weapons to the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office's Tachikawa branch. The boy, who had lived in the Tokyo suburban city of Hachioji and was in his first year at a private high school, is specifically accused of illegal acts including being in possession of a revolver and 70 live bullets. The revolver was manufactured by U.S. firearms company Smith & Wesson.

    According to investigative sources, the teen's mother indicated during questioning that the gun the boy used to shoot himself in the head had likely been purchased by his father, who had worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was once stationed overseas. It is thought that the boy's father may have brought a handgun he acquired overseas for self-defense to Japan. He died of an illness in 2019.

    (Japanese original by Makoto Kakizaki, City News Department)

    * * *

    -- List of suicide prevention hotlines

    TELL Lifeline (English) https://telljp.com/lifeline/

    Telephone hotline: 03-5774-0992 (9 a.m.-11 p.m. daily)

    Online chat: https://telljp.com/lifeline/tell-chat/ (Fri.-Sun., 10:30 p.m.-2 a.m.)

    Counseling inquiries: 03-4550-1146 (Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-3 p.m.)

    ***

    Federation of Inochi no Denwa (literally "telephone of life") can be reached by phone at 0570-783-556 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

    Federation Inochi no Denwa also accepts toll-free phone consultations on the 10th of every month from 8 a.m. until 8 a.m. the following day at 0120-783-556

    The Federation's website is here: http://www.inochinodenwa.org/

    A list of hotlines by regions affiliated with the center can be found here: http://www.inochinodenwa.org/lifeline.php

    ***

    The Tokyo suicide prevention center, a member of the nonprofit organization Befrienders Worldwide, can be reached every day from 8 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. (from 5 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and from 8 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. on Thursdays) at 03-5286-9090, or at http://www.befrienders-jpn.org/

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