crime

3-month sentence for Japan-Hawaii flight assault

63 Comments
By JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER

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So did his bride divorce him yet? Isn't it like a 5 hour flight? If had not done this stupid thing, it wouldn't have been much of a honeymoon that night. Guilty of assault and guilty of interfering with a flight attendant's duties, wonder if he is now on a "no fly" list?

5 ( +7 / -2 )

and got upset when a flight attendant wouldn’t take his tray away.

Poor baby. Guess he is used to women jumping at his command. I feel sorry for his wife.

14 ( +19 / -5 )

I hope he enjoys First class American prison hospitality.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

Excellent news for this piece of human garbage! Glad it was a US court imposing sentence, instead of Mickey Mouse Japanese justice!

6 ( +16 / -10 )

The ol' "I was drunk" excuse doesn't hold much water in countries with developed judicial systems.

13 ( +18 / -5 )

Glad he was tried in the US. If it were a Japanese carrier and even brought to trial in Japan it would be th flight attendant, fired, as the defendant. Hope his wife is thinking hard about the marriage.

8 ( +15 / -7 )

Well at least he didn't say "I don't remember"...

As jerseyboy says "poor wife" !

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Im sure he felt he was entittled as he is Japanese to yell at the inferior gaijin staff. I was in first class once on the way to China and saw a Japanese man yell at another forienger sitting next to me. He said dont touch my F*&^ing computer when the passenger was adjusting his luggage on the overhead compartment. Nobody did a thing to the Japanese guy, even though he was making quite the scene. If I did the same thing, its escort off the plane or move me to economical class. Im glad to see this douche get his day in jail.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

Nice!

4 ( +6 / -2 )

@5petals, that sounds like an unusual situation. I have lived in Japan around 15 years, and can probably count on few fingers the times I saw JP men get aggressive and then only on Tokyo metro. I am further surprised your friend didn't tell him to phukk off,,,

8 ( +11 / -3 )

These kind of person (animals) are very common everywhere... for some reason you can find these specimens more commonly in Business and Fist class, but there are no strangers in couch...

As for the comment from some (most) people around here... sorry to burst your bubble, but Japanese are not the only people who have as$2h0l3s... but apparently you only have eyes for Japan, so thank you

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

Reckless, if you remember the original story, this man was one of our tattooed, digitally-challenged friends, and, sad to say, they do tend to be a tad aggressive. Mind you, I'm glad you have made 15 years in Tokyo without coming across these nationalist traditionalists.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

Glad he was tried in the US. If it were a Japanese carrier and even brought to trial in Japan it would be th flight attendant, fired, as the defendant.

Jumping the shark, Smith?

Or do you, or anybody else, seriously believe a passenger who punched a flight attendant would just walk away from it?

And the flight attendant fired?

I thought you lived in Kansai. Is that Kansai in Japan on Planet Earth or somewhere extraterrestial?

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

Obviously there are extra-legal repercussions for this man's actions--he'll be placed on some sort of airline no-fly list, he's probably lost his job and maybe his wife, and he's going to carry the stigma of this with him for the rest of his life.

But three months seems light to me, for physically assaulting a crew member in the post-9/11 world.

Six months or a year.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Not sure why everyone is feeling sorry for the wife. She knowinly married a yak so should be well aware she's not exactly going to get the guy you take home to mom. I doubt this is the first time he reacted like this while drunk either.

Three months for this in the US for this vs three years for killing your child in Japan... Why does Japan have a rep for having a "tough" criminal system??

5 ( +8 / -3 )

@Reckless "tattooed, digitally-challenged"

Thats gold! haha

Great to see the "I was drunk" excuse doesnt get the same leniency as it does here.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

ohh he got bored on the first class ...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

He's very lucky that three months in the can and a $3100 fine was all he got.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/month-sentence-japan-hawaii-flight-assault-24762881

The penalty for assaulting a flight attendant is very severe.

Assault. Assaulting a crew-member is punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment, and a fine of up to $250,000. If a dangerous weapon is used, the defendant can be imprisoned for life. (18 U.S.C. § 3571, 49 U.S.C. § 46504.)

5 ( +6 / -1 )

"Glad he was tried in the US. If it were a Japanese carrier and even brought to trial in Japan it would be th flight attendant, fired, as the defendant. Hope his wife is thinking hard about the marriage."

I wish he had done this in the good old state of Indiana.....

6 ( +7 / -1 )

LBW2010 at Jul. 30, 2014 - 10:50AM JST Obviously there are extra-legal repercussions for this man's actions--he'll be placed on some sort of airline no-fly list, he's probably lost his job and maybe his wife, and he's going to carry the stigma of this with him for the rest of his life. But three months seems light to me, for physically assaulting a crew member in the post-9/11 world. Six months or a year.

Post 9/11 world? Um no. Post 9/11 America is the correct term. The world is much bigger than America dude and punching someone while drunk does not deserve more time than what he has received.

This has nothing to do with terrorism.

-9 ( +5 / -14 )

It was a Delta Air Lines flight, and the man was tried in a U.S. court under a U.S. criminal statute. So it's really not unreasonable to take into account how the threat of terrorism has influenced American aviation security laws.

Punching "someone" at a bar while drunk is, I'm afraid, vastly different from punching an on-duty crew member at 40,000 feet over the Pacific.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Apparently his upper body is full of tattoos....

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If we were re-writing airline safety rules from scratch today, would we even consider serving people free alcohol in-flight or just like smoking, would we laugh off the idea as a ridiculous non-starter? It seems like a bit of an unnecessary safety hazard seeing as there is at least 1 drunk on every flight. I'd rather have the airline charge an additional $20 and fly alcohol free and in peace.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

Quite a catch, this fellow.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@ M3, I agree there should be alcohol-free flights. I'm a non-drinker and I can't see the point of people getting pissed on a flight. I mean, if I wanted to go to a bar, I'd go. Maybe there should be 'no drinking' and 'drinking zones' on the flight. Make the 'no drinking' seats 10% cheaper.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

RecklessJul. 30, 2014 - 09:38AM JST @5petals, that sounds like an unusual situation. I have lived in Japan around 15 years, and can probably count on few fingers the times I saw JP men get aggressive

No idea what vacuum u r living in. Live but don't see and don't understand the life around. Interesting.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Glad he was tried in the US. If it were a Japanese carrier and even brought to trial in Japan it would be th flight attendant, fired, as the defendant.

Or do you, or anybody else, seriously believe a passenger who punched a flight attendant would just walk away from it?

And the flight attendant fired?

The "anybody else" part applies to people-either-than-Smith if any of you want to back him up and confound me with some brilliant logic. Don't be shy. It's only the internet.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

no alcohol on flights? that ridiculous. just because a few idiots a year can't hold their alcohol doesn't mean that the rest of us can't. in my lifetime, i have never seen anyone act up because of getting wasted on a flight.

and it's not "free," you pay for it when you purchase your ticket.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Okamoto tried to punch a flight attendant who intervened

Wonder what intervened means here. I've seem some pretty aggressive flight attendants.

Okamoto later apologized while crying.

Not good for his tough guy persona.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Not defend punching anyone or to suggest one is guiltless for being drunk, but, it seems many assume the flight attendants were perfect. I don't know. I wasn't there. Not assuming anything.

However, if I paid for two first class seats, I would be expecting far more than what I get in coach. Also, if I paid that, I would be exceeding my limits and already on edge even before boarding the plane. So how long was that tray there? How many times did he ask to have it removed?

Again, not excusing the man. But assumptions that the flight attendants did nothing to instigate seems a bit premature without more information. It takes two to tango but I see nothing about the flight attendants doings before the punching started.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

crush them,

this clearly was one sided. the stews in first class know how much the tickets cost, they do everything they can for the top fare folks. No, this guy is clearly a Yak (not mentioned here is that he is in the construction industry) who is use to pushing people around. He just forgot where he was and acted like he does everyday in Japan. All of us that have lived here a while know these folks and steer clear of them. They are scum who prey on the weakness of others. Why the Japanese government lets them operate in the open is a sad comment on society here in Japan.

The only real punishment this guy will get will be from his gang leader for being such a idiot. Maybe a finger will have to go.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Daniel Neagari: "As for the comment from some (most) people around here... sorry to burst your bubble, but Japanese are not the only people who have as$2h0l3s... but apparently you only have eyes for Japan, so thank you"

I don't see many, if any, people saying that disturbances on a plane are limited to Japanese people. What many ARE saying is that the punishment would not fit the crime if it were tried in Japan against a Japanese passenger.

ReformedBasher: Do you even know what "Jump the shark" means?

"a term to describe a moment when somethin that was once great has reached a point where it will now decline in quality and popularity."

Sooooo.... you're saying it was once popular to punch flight attendants but now it's losing some steam?

"Or do you, or anybody else, seriously believe a passenger who punched a flight attendant would just walk away from it?"

It wouldn't have gotten that far on a Japanese, as well as some other Asian airlines', carrier because the flight attendant would not have put up a fuss. I had an ex who worked for a Japanese airline and she was told flat out that "the customer is always right" and if some 'unpleasantness' (ie. groping, harrassment, etc.) happens they should do their best to ignore it. If it is continuous they can ask to be changed with another attendant, and they should NOT make a scene. This is not in the official guidelines, of course, but it was the talking to she got in orientation, and what a few friends got when touched or yelled at by unruly passengers. Fortunately it never happened to her (well, besides a few snide remarks or verbal insults/complaints).

"And the flight attendant fired?"

That, or returned/put to the role as airport check-in staff until they quit on their own.

" thought you lived in Kansai. Is that Kansai in Japan on Planet Earth or somewhere extraterrestial?"

Kansai is in Japan, regardless of where you conjure up it might be from, reformedbasher. Not all of us live in denial of the facts -- hence MANY posters saying they are glad it was tried in the US and not here. Sorry to burst your bubble -- something that is never 'jumping the shark'.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

I wonder what kind of in-flight service he'll receive when he eventually flies back to Japan. He must now be on the black list of Delta Airlines so another airline will have the "pleasure" of transporting him back to Japan. He should be forced to return on a slow freight ship as further punishment

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@Smith

5petals was pretty guttural about it.. and as for the others, "read between the lines" means anything to you? Your own comment has some implications in it too.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Carry the stigma for the rest of his life?

In Japan? You gotta be kidding me here. This is already yesterday's news, NO ONE is going to remember crap.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

@reckless,

Well Im glad you have never witnessed these events. I have on several occasions, and have had Japanese men be violent towards me. Some dont like certian nationalities. No denying from me, it happens here allot.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Well, at least this happened on a plane and the Yak was not packing. No doubt he has a gun when he visits his construction sites.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Well, at least this happened on a plane and the Yak was not packing. No doubt he has a gun when he visits his construction sites.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I dont see anything in the article that says he was a Yak. The J man I witnessed while in 1st class going bizerk was not a yak he was just a little twerp that had a meltdown.

Why does a Japanese need be a Yak to have a meltdown? I ve seen it many times; many infantile tantrums etc.

I see some posters here trying to turn it on the flight attedant. Let me get this straight-your saying the flight attendant is guilty of violence during inflight service and the Japanese man is innocent of any wrongdoing?? I have never seen any flight attendant be rude towards a Japanese, or anyone for that matter. but I have witnessed on two occasions Japanese going bizerk over some "service" issue on flights. I have also seen them kick their luggage and yell at the Asian bellboy to pick it up for him, in a superiority tone. I have seen them go bizerk at the hotel desk overseas. I have never witnessed any other nationality do this. I guess your going to tell me I was hallucinating or some other excuse, but sorry, I wasnt.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Anyone who hasn't seen a Japanese male throw a temper tantrum here either just got off the plane of is walking aroun blind. I have seen more cases of J men being violent here over trivial matters than I have in any other country - though I admit, for bar fights, "gaikoku" wins. I'm seen punches and kicks thrown over delayed trains, dropped glasses and feeling that someone wasn't giving the proper respect to them.

5petals, I am wondering about your gender now. I'm assuming female - due to your name and your comments about being a victim. I, and many other foreign females, have been on the wrong end of J men for just being female. Something I think many foreign men here do not understand because they don't experience it.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

sorry tmarie, male here ) Name just popped in my head, like a five leaf clover or while looking at the chrysanthemum symbol you can see anywhere, just a take on that.

No, males get it too, if not worse. I added nationality, because some Japanese feel its their divine right to rule over others, but there are some "others" who got the better of them, so they vent about it I guess.

I think everyone experiences or sees violence here if they stay long enough, there are some that are haters of their own country and will look at anything Japan with rose colored glasses. I too, dont like many things about my own origins, but what I like, I really like. I dont deny anything what I see in any country

I think in any country, if you stand out (like an Asian in a mostly white/black society or white/black in an Asian society) you become sort of sh*t magnet. I mean, youlll experience things the natives wont. because your seen as the free pass they dont otherwise get. In my country, I would of said Asians NEVER get discriminated against. They do, however, I just coundnt "see" it. Many Japanese have told me "there is absolutely no discrimination in Japan!" They cant see it. I experience things on a daily basis here; a vent from a Japanese who would otherwise hold his tounge in the company of his countrymen, a dirty eye,and avoidance, an obfusacation of events, situational ethics, occasional shove or push etc. .I dont think its a healthy thing, because for the body it takes its toil. I found my own ways of dealing with it, and it never involves denying or apologizing.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I agree with everything except your "males get it too, if not worse" comment! Def agree with you about standing out. The stories I have told my J friends - looks of shock and horror. And yes, being told Japan has no racism or discrimination... I think they CAN see it but they just don't count it and would rather ignore it - like so many other issues here.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Yeah you make a good point. I can only imagine what goes on in some J mens minds when they see a foriegn woman....

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"Iagree with everything except your "males get it too, if not worse" comment! Def agree with you about standing out. The stories I have told my J friends - looks of shock and horror. And yes, being told Japan has no racism or discrimination... I think they CAN see it but they just don't count it and would rather ignore it - like so many other issues here"

I agree with you too. (excellent poiunt) ESPECIALLY ON: "I think they CAN see it but they just don't count it and would rather ignore it"

a big problem in this 3rd power country now, aside from the lopsided laws- in relation to other than Japanese, keystone profiling esp blacks; and other than Japanese, and bigger j isle Punks who would get dealt with anywhere else on the globe, but are protected in j-land by the lopsided J-system...and they will soon find out as world awarenes grows of such tactics; their playing field will be reduced to only j-land..believe that....

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Not defend punching anyone or to suggest one is guiltless for being drunk, but, it seems many assume the flight attendants were perfect. I don't know. I wasn't there. Not assuming anything.

However, if I paid for two first class seats, I would be expecting far more than what I get in coach. Also, if I paid that, I would be exceeding my limits and already on edge even before boarding the plane. So how long was that tray there? How many times did he ask to have it removed?

Again, not excusing the man. But assumptions that the flight attendants did nothing to instigate seems a bit premature without more information. It takes two to tango but I see nothing about the flight attendants doings before the punching started.

These kinds of comments always make me laugh. "I'm not excusing the man...", then they go on about why the man might be excused for assaulting another human being. Dude, I don't care HOW long that tray sat there, that's not justification for assault and battery. Period. End of argument.

@ Crush Them, You're no better than ESPN talking head Stephen A. Smith who started pontificating about how sometimes women provoke their man into beating them senseless, as he watched video of NFL Baltimore Raven Ray Rice dragging his unconscious fiance out of a casino elevator. She had reportedly spit in his face in a casino bar just before the incident. Translation? "She got what she deserved. She provoked him into beating her unconscious."

0 ( +2 / -2 )

5petalsJUL. 30, 2014 - 06:32PM JST

No, males get it too, if not worse.

I think in any country, if you stand out you become sort of sh*t magnet.

I experience things on a daily basis here; a vent from a Japanese who would otherwise hold his tounge in the company of his countrymen, a dirty eye,and avoidance, an obfusacation of events, situational ethics, occasional shove or push etc. .I dont think its a healthy thing, because for the body it takes its toil. I found my own ways of dealing with it, and it never involves denying or apologising. Haha… Settle petal. Nah. No way. It works both ways. Sure it can be uncomfortable sometimes, but the benefits are great in Japan. Gotta take the good with the small amounts of bad. I think you are projecting a little. Maybe your personality or general atmosphere is causing these things to happen way more often than they should. Maybe you need to seriously think about leave Japan for your own health.
-10 ( +0 / -10 )

First Class Cabin, but low class behaviour.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Get drunk throw a punch on a flight bound aircraft and thinking that crying and bowing will get you leniency! Bow to the brick wall and your cellmate because the Judges in the US don't care! This Yak has to do his time and when he get paroled out bow out and then say thank you and think about where he is the next time he decides to drink and fly!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Perhaps his expectations came into play here too. Not to overly diss Delta, but there is a world of difference between Delta/United 1st class & the likes of Emirates/JAL etc. On a JAL flight the FA might have jumped right to it, on Delta may well have been asked to wait a moment etc.

Regardless, I agree that the expectations of behaviour at 10,000 feet are a world apart from at a bar. For one thing, bars have bouncers. 1st class generally has slim women in skirts. See the difference? Wish he'd been in economy, he might've had 3 or 4 more than willing male passengers jump him for good measure.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@5petalsJUL. 30, 2014 - 05:20PM JST

I dont see anything in the article that says he was a Yak. The J man I witnessed while in 1st class going bizerk was not a yak he was just a little twerp that had a meltdown.

''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

You are right. There was no mentioning of tattoo or Yak in original news.

tattoos were shown in appeal court by Hino. No mentioning of Yak.

;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

Okamoto struck the flight attendant in his arms, which were raised to protect his head, the complaint said.

The Delta Air Lines flight crew told authorities that Okamoto later apologized while crying, remained calm for the remainder of the flight and eventually fell asleep.

After crew members restrained him in his seat, "Okamoto apologized for his actions by repeatedly saying 'I'm sorry' and bowed down on his knees and placed his head on the floor," the complaint said.

U.S. Magistrate Kevin Chang initially allowed Okamoto, 30, of Kyoto, to be released on $50,000 bond, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracy Hino appealed, arguing that Okamoto didn't disclose a previous conviction in Japan for assaulting a police officer. Hino's appeal provided photos of Okamoto's near full-body tattoos, arguing that Okamoto is a flight risk and a danger.

Delta banned Okamoto from flying on the airline, according to Hino's appeal.

U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright granted the appeal to keep him held without bail at the Honolulu Federal Detention Center.

Because he was arrested at the airport, he never got to enjoy his honeymoon, which was to be spent at a luxury resort in east Honolulu, Hino said.

He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison when he's sentenced on Sept. 22.

His federal public defender, Salina Althof, declined to comment after the guilty plea hearing.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Having tattoo "sleeves" in most countries just means you hate your body and feel the need to decorate it. In Japan, however, having tattoo "sleeves" means you became a member of a yakuza gang. Add to this the fact that the guy works for a construction firm (an industry rife with yakuza "influence") and it doesn't take a long leap of faith to conclude this guy is (or at least was at one time) part of a yak gang.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Wonder if he was sent to Fuchu prison. It is NOT a heavenly place!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

ReformedBasher: Do you even know what "Jump the shark" means?

You can provide your definition. Mine is reaching a peak in silly behaviour, (were you alive when Fonzie jumped the shark?), something that would seem apt in your case. You're welcome.

I've never seen Japanese passengers, on any means of transportation, act in anyway different to other nationalities,let alone brawling on a regular basis. That's "my" anecdote.

But feel free to believe I'll be swayed by "your" anecdotes, especially since you are always so impartial/generous/objective in your comments regarding any aspect of Japan and her people.

FWIW, you can speak nonsense all and still be a joke. Can you see the connection?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Here's what he looks like (fully clothed):

http://news.yahoo.com/3-month-sentence-japan-hawaii-flight-assault-204745365.html

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Wonder if he was sent to Fuchu prison. It is NOT a heavenly place!

Do you even read the articles here?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

He is arrested in USA, not in Japan. U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright granted the appeal to keep him held without bail at the Honolulu Federal Detention Center.

He was arrested for his behavior in airplane, not for his tattoo.

Suspects are supposed to state prior arrest(s) record in any countries when interrogated.

If they have distinctive body characteristics such as front teeth missing, scar on face, limping, deaf, tattoo, etc, are also recorded beside upper body photo, and fingerprinted.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Having tattoo "sleeves" in most countries just means you hate your body and feel the need to decorate it.

I agreed with everything you wrote except this. I know plenty of folks with sleeves who love their bodies but also love tats. Let's get the judgement of tats out of this please.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@crush them Throwing a punch and hitting someone is an assault in the US its considered Assault and Battery so if th flight attendant got hit and wanted to press charges he or she could! By the way this Yak got off easy because the minimum sentence for an assault is punishable in county jail anywhere from 1-3 years he is very lucky he got 3 months. There is more if the FA wants to file a civil suit he or she can so he is very lucky. He got off big time bought 2 first class tickets and was set to honeymoon in Hawaii at a nice hotel and my tax paying dollars paid for a guy who owns his own construction company attorney because he used a public defender

1 ( +1 / -0 )

He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison when he's sentenced on Sept. 22.

His federal public defender, Salina Althof, declined to comment after the guilty plea hearing.

'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' He is in Hawaii courts. So, Hawaii licensed Public Defender is assigned. Japanese lawyers iwho is licensed in Hawaii many be used if there is any, but I doubt. The Public defenders are usually employed by local govt. Hawaiian tax payers can complain but there is case or not, they get paid by states.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Your honor, my client pleads YOLO.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I hope that he enjoy's our jails. I wonder if he lost his job?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

You can provide your definition. Mine is reaching a peak in silly behaviour, (were you alive when Fonzie jumped the shark?), something that would seem apt in your case. You're welcome.

LOL. Right reference, but you took the wrong meaning from it. "Happy Days" had been fading in popularity with some cast members leaving the show. In the show's fifth year one episode featured a water-skiing "The Fonz" in swim trunks jumping over a confined shark. The act was so NON-"Fonzie-like" that audiences realized the writers had run out of ideas. Jumping the shark was not the ZENITH of "The Fonz", it was his nadir. "Jumping the shark" subsequently came to mean that something has outlived its usefulness or entertainment value.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Only 3 months???? At least in the american couty jail or prison where he was detained I bet them big black mexicans, skin heads all got a taste of fresh meat in the shower room ROFL. He needs more time to enjoy American inmate brutality!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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