On Jan 22, police sent prosecutors documents on a National Police Agency official who allegedly threw a tray at a woman working at a security check at an airport last year, after being told that one of his belongings was not allowed aboard a plane.
The incident happened on Dec 24, when Superintendent Takayuki Masuda, 36, assistant chief of the NPA’s Personnel Division, was stopped by the woman at the baggage inspection area at Narita International Airport near Tokyo as he was trying to take aboard cosmetics in a 150-milliliter container. Masuda demanded that the woman allow him to take the cosmetics, saying that he was ‘‘a superintendent at the National Police Agency’’ and threw a tray used at the security check counter at her.
According to an official of the airport security authority, Masuda not only got mad at the security check woman but also shouted at airport police officers, “I'm an NPA official. I'm different from you!” he was heard to shout.
The airport security official says Masuda finally apologized after a senior police officer calmed him down. Then Masuda was released and left for Germany.
What major newspapers and TV didn't report is that Masuda was traveling to Germany together with a cabin attendant in her late 20s, even though he is married to a TV journalist who covers the police beat.
It was possibly Masuda's wife who was the most surprised by the news. A TV news reporter who knows her says, “She is in a leadership position on her team and she has lots of friends in the NPA. She must have been informed of the news about her husband faster than anybody. Even NPA officials who know her tried not to make her feel worse regarding the fact her husband was traveling with the cabin attendant.”
One of 540 NPA officials who direct 290,000 police officers nationwide, Masuda graduated from Keio University, unlike most NPA officials who are graduates of Tokyo University. He worked at a private company for three years. Then, he was recruited the NPA at the age of 27 in 2000.
In an interview with the Sankei newspaper in 2000, Masuda said on behalf of other new officials, “I feel regret about all the scandals involving police officers. It is my goal to maintain public safety in Japan.” In 2005, he married his wife whom he knew in college.
An NPA official says Masuda is an enormously proud man. “He is one of the proudest officials at the NPA and very strict toward his subordinates and lower-ranked officials. He must have been pissed off to be told what to do by the airport security official. I think he was too angry to foresee what would happen if the incident got picked up by the media.”
Another NPA career official says: “He didn't report his overseas travel to the NPA, which is obligatory for NPA officials. That alone warrants an admonitory warning. His assault against the airport security staff and the fact that he was apparently fooling around meant that he would be fired for eroding public confidence in government officials.”
The NPA dragged its feet and took three weeks to make final decision on Masuda. Some say the NPA tried to hide the incident from the public. A spokesperson for the NPA said before they announced the punishment for Masuda, “We always take action against officials whose behavior is illegal and inappropriate as public servants.” (Translated by Taro Fujimoto)© Japan Today