NATIONAL

Arrest in Japan over 3-D printed guns

A Japanese man suspected of possessing guns made with a 3-D printer has been arrested, reports said on Thursday, in what was said to be the country’s first such detention.

Officers who raided the home of Yoshitomo Imura, a 27-year-old college employee, confiscated five weapons, two of which had the potential to fire lethal bullets, broadcaster NHK said.

They also recovered a 3-D printer from the home in Kawasaki, near Tokyo, but did not find any ammunition for the guns, Jiji Press reported.

The police investigation began after the suspect allegedly posted video footage on the Internet showing him shooting the guns, the Mainichi Shimbun said on its website.

The rapid development of 3-D printing technology, which allows relatively cheap machines to construct complex physical objects by building up layers of polymer, has proved a challenge for legislators around the world.

Weapons assembled from parts produced by the printers are not detectable with regular security equipment, like that found at airports, leading to fears that they may be used in hijackings.

Last year, a Texas-based group, Defense Distributed, posted blueprints for a fully functional, 3-D-printed firearm, a single-shot pistol made almost entirely out of hard polymer plastic. — AFP