Japanese customs have banned the import of US-made ballpoint pens after determining they constituted “weapons” and “could be used in self-defence.”
Customs authorities in Osaka and Nagoya ordered that the US-made pens be denied import permits after classifying them as “weaponry.”
Due to their pointy shape and metallic construction, customs say they are actually intended as self-defence pens, and most likely illegal under Japanese law.
The importers and their US makers have criticised the decision as “unfair,” and after having been unable to reach any agreement with customs have seen 237 of their pens held at airports for over a year.
The pens in question are made by such renowned American cutlers as Smith & Wesson and Benchmade Knife; their rugged metal construction and militaristic design were apparently just too much for officials to countenance as being anything but evidence of them being designed for killing:
Fortunately, the vast quantities of ballpoint pens Japan imports from China and elsewhere seem unlikely to be provocatively manly enough to those officials, else normal people and not just creepy pen collecting military otaku might be affected.
Online there is despair both at this TSA-level genius and the kind of mentality which sees a gun-maker making a literal killing off its pens:
“So self-defence gear is no good – in other words they are saying we should die quietly if attacked?”
“I’m amazed the yanks were dumb enough to think they could slip stuff like this through customs!”
“Well, if we can’t import them I guess it’s a chance for our domestic makers!”
“You can buy a fruit knife in any ¥100 shop… I suppose that is out as well?”
“If they have time to ban pens like this, they should do something about that rocket launcher they found in Fukuoka recently…”
“Come on, it was made by a small arms manufacturer. I don’t see any problem with banning its import.”
“How are these weapons?”
“I thought it would have a knife or a gun attached… these are just normal pens?”
“I think you could stab someone with a normal ballpoint just as well. Perhaps its the blood grooves these pens have on them?”