Howa Type 64 Airsoft Station

Howa Type 89

The writing on the magazine is hard to make out. My best guess is that it's supposed to say 訓 (Training or instructional). Unlike the Germans and early Famas, the Type 89 does use standard AR15 magazines and there are a few pictures out there of Japanese police and military with Magpul mags.

As for the selector:
ア is for 安全 (Anzen, safety)
レ is for 連 発 (Renpatsu. Full auto)
3 is 3 shot burst (duh)
タ is 単 発 (Tanpatsu, semi)
From what I've read the selector only goes clockwise and back (can't go directly to full auto). Most photos of JSDF doing weapons practice have brass bags obscuring this so my information is limited (I've heard police training have to turn in all their brass after training or they go full shut down everything, part of why they continue to use revolvers. I'd assume the brass bags are a similar deal with the JSDF). Publicity photos of a modernized Type 89 show a more common 3 position AR10 / 15 style selector.

As for the lineage and history, I don't know much. I’d suspect the civilian AR-18s Howa made before Nam politics got in the way led to it, but I’m sure you already had that idea. Would love to get the politics cleared up and see the new version with picatiny rail imported.