No Longer Going Such Great Guns

Wandering through Nangoku, a gritty city on the southern coast of Shikoku, least accessible of Japan's main islands, one wouldn't imagine that this corner of the most gun-free of all advanced nations would be feeling the pangs of a softening in the world's biggest firearms market, the U.S. Nangoku, a community of 50,000, is given over mostly to farming and small-time commerce. But squatting among rice paddies on the edge of town is the low-profile Miroku Firearms Manufacturing Co., a collection of nondescript low-rise buildings spread over about 4,650 square meters. And Miroku is fidgety indeed over changing attitudes in the U.S.

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