Hunting in Japan: SOFA Status
Here is a little bit more info for folks in Japan with SOFA Status that desire to hunt:
Request: If you have more accurate info, or additional info, please share so we all can be better informed!
In the Camp Zama area, the Camp Zama Sportsman's Club is a great resource! I met many of the members a few years back but since they are about 2 hours from my area, I am no longer a member. They do a lot of fishing, and a few members have also cracked the code on firearms ownership in the past. They also operate the base skeet range. Their website is: http://enjoyingjapan.com/sportsmensclub/index.html
In the MCAS Iwakuni Area, there are two guys to talk to, Dale Crawford and Mike Gingles. Here is a link that tells more about their situation. www.iwakuni.usmc.mil/newwebsite/Press%20Room/Archives/NewsArchives/070627-hunt.html. Dale previously was the Zama Sportsman's Club President, ran the range at Zama, and has had a Japanese firearms license for many years. As for Ed, I have heard he is a great guy to deal with but I have not met him in person yet.
If you are headed up north, there is a great BLOG out there by an avid fisherman/hunter/all round outdoors man that I recommend reading through. Here is a link: http://shumihanto.blogspot.com/
If you are in the Mount Fuji area, we recently started a FaceBook Group for the Camp Fuji Sportsman's Club at http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=143363619033702 stop by and join!
One more area peculiar to foreigners hunting in Japan is the use of HAM radios. US version CB radios are of no use (wrong frequency band, actually illegal). Japanese law controls the frequency band that can be used by hunters so you will need radios built in/for Japan. Most importantly is the recent change in the anti-terror laws that now makes the sight of a HAM radio (antenna, mic, actual radio, or the suspicion of using one) probable cause for the police to stop you, or pull you over. It is very important that your paperwork is right. The first step is to get a Japanese licence, or a reciprocal license if you have a US HAM license. Here is the link to the Japan Amateur Radio League: http://www.jarl.or.jp/English/3_Application/A-3.htm They helped me out a few years back, taking my US HAM license in English in Nagoya. Their site also contains all the info you need to know about frequency bands, power output limits and more. Another important step is to ensure your radios (in the truck and your hand-held) have the current Japanese tax/approval stamp. Your hunting association Bunkai-Cho or local HAM shop owner can help you with this.
I hope this info is helpful , and maybe all the SOFA hunters can plan a group hunt next season!!! Count me in, no matter what prefecture.
See you in the Yama!