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159 passengers enter Japan without passing through immigration at Narita


A total of 159 passengers arriving in Japan aboard a flight from Taiwan entered the country without passing through immigration or luggage inspection as a result of a logistic gaffe, the flight operator Vanilla Air announced Monday.

The incident occurred on Sunday night, when shuttle buses transporting the passengers of budget carrier Vanilla Air Flight 104 from Taipei took them by mistake to an arrival gate of Narita Airport’s domestic terminal instead of the international terminal, Sankei Shimbun reported.

Though the circumstances of the incident are still partially unclear, it is highly possible that the flight was mistaken for a domestic flight, after it was temporarily diverted to Nagoya’s Chubu Centrair International Airport due to strong winds before reaching its final destination at Narita at 9:45 p.m., Vanilla Air explained.

The incident was revealed when passengers on the flight contacted authorities after they thought it was unusual that they had picked up their checked-in luggage but had not passed through customs and immigration.

A Narita International Airport Corp representative said that they “have never heard of so many people arriving in Japan without completing immigration procedures.”

Vanilla Air said they have already managed to contact and properly process 110 of the passengers, while the remaining 49 are currently being contacted by phone and e-mail. Of the 159 passengers, the majority are Japanese nationals, the operator said, with only 10 holding foreign passports.

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Fine to cover it as an amusing anecdote, but it's just an innocent administrative mistake. There was and is no security threat from this, as it's not an error that could have been predicted, and is unlikely to be repeated. People wishing to enter Japan illegally are most likely to come by sea anyway.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

An epic foreshadowing of an Asian "Schengen Zone/Common Travel Area" anyone? I'd say immigration free movement between Taiwan and Japan is a scheme we realistically ought to aim towards. Both regions don't share any land borders with other states and the two get along quite well with one another.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

That's how I ended up in Japan & cant escape hahahhahaaaaaaaa!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Staggering incompetence

7 ( +11 / -4 )

In the out door.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Ah, those damn Asians all look the same!

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Funny that this makes news in Japan. In Germany, 20,000 young men enter every DAY without passing through any sort of immigration. Try that, Japan!

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Had it been a flight from somewhere else things may not have gone so smoothly...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

yamamoto san, did you send the fax to the wrong number again??

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"Of the 159 passengers, the majority are Japanese nationals, the operator said, with only 10 holding foreign passports."

In other words, no big deal. Only 10 foreign nationals were not checked for "immigration procedures." Japanese nationals have a right to enter Japan. As a citizen, you are not "immigrating."

And better than the UK. A couple of times at Heathrow I (and whole plane loads) were not checked because of "industrial action" (aka a strike). We just walked through.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

interruni is correct. There would be no way that even someone importing contraband would have known to take advantage of this. Now that the security hole has been discovered, they need to ensure it doesn't happen again.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In other words, no big deal. Only 10 foreign nationals were not checked for "immigration procedures." Japanese nationals have a right to enter Japan. As a citizen, you are not "immigrating."

No but they still need to be processed because there's no way to tell if they aren't processed properly.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Live and learn... I don't see this as a major incident.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

That's why Japan need robot Judokas in the airport. They never miss anyone.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The one guy who was smuggling some drug from Taiwan was probably elated at how simple it was!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

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