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Japan unveils next generation assault rifle

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Japan’s Ministry of Defense publicly unveiled the newest Howa Type 20 assault rifle, designed to replace the 5.56x45mm Type 89 that was adopted 30 years ago.

The first time in over 30 years, Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) members will get new assault weapons.

The new assault rifles were displayed to the media on May 18 at the Defense Ministry in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward.

As The Asahi Shimbun reported, the rifle will be indigenously produced in Japan by Howa. Each rifle is expected to cost around 275,000 yen – the equivalent to $2,600. This is calculated from the 2019-20 military budget.

The Japanese Army currently has around 150,000 active personnel, so the rifle requirement will be substantial.

GSDF is replacing its members’ rifle for the first time in 31 years since fiscal 1989 and the pistol for the first time in 38 years since fiscal 1982.

The new rifles were designed to be more resistant to water and corrosion so they could be used in amphibious operations on the remote island chain, which stretches about 1,200 kilometers from the Osumi islands in Kagoshima Prefecture to Yonagunijima island in Okinawa Prefecture.


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