By KAZUFUMI KANEKO/ Staff Writer
September 15, 2020 at 15:36 JST
A Hokkaido Air System Co. airplane boards passengers before departing from Hakodate for Okushiri at Hakodate Airport in Hokkaido in 2006. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
A male passenger who refused to wear a face mask was kicked off a flight bound for Hokkaido's Hakodate on Sept. 12 operated by a subsidiary of Japan Airlines Co.
The plane's captain ordered the passenger to get off before departure, according to an official of the airline's operating company, Hokkaido Air System Co. (HAC).
The captain took the action after judging that the man could cause a disturbance that jeopardized the safety of the flight.
A flight attendant asked the man why he refused to wear a mask, but he wouldn't reply to the question.
Flight JL 2890 was preparing for takeoff at Okushiri Airport on Hokkaido's Okushirito island, when the flight attendant noticed that the man wasn't wearing a mask. She then asked him to put one on at around 12:20 p.m., according to HAC.
But the man refused to comply. When the flight attendant asked him why he wouldn't put one on, he said, “I don’t want to answer that.”
The captain, acting under provisions of the Aviation Law, then ordered him to disembark from the plane.
About 20 other passengers were aboard the 36-seat plane at the time.
The plane departed from Okushiri Airport about 30 minutes behind schedule.
The man told The Asahi Shimbun afterward that he didn't wear a mask because wearing one in the past caused him to get hives and become sick.
He said he didn't answer the flight attendant's question because “he felt embarrassed to disclose his underlying illness in public.”
On Sept. 7, the captain of a passenger plane operated by budget carrier Peach Aviation Ltd. determined the actions of a male passenger who was not wearing a mask and yelling constituted threatening behavior that risked the flight's safety under the Aviation Law.
He then made an unscheduled landing at Niigata Airport so the unruly passenger could be removed from the plane.
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