ANA's business class cabin Photo: Wikipedia
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ANA’s Paris branch manager assaults passenger after consuming 6 glasses of wine

42 Comments

The 52-year-old branch manager for All Nippon Airways (ANA) in Paris assaulted a passenger while on board a flight to Haneda Airport.

According to the airline, Kenji Sugino was inebriated when the incident occurred, after having consumed six glasses of wine, Fuji TV reported. Sugino has since resigned from his position, ANA said.

Sugino was on ANA Flight 216 from Paris to Haneda Airport on Oct 2. While seated in business class, he became intoxicated 4 1/2 hours into the flight after drinking wine and inflicted injuries upon a woman in her 50s, who was seated beside him. The victim suffered a cervical sprain and was taken to hospital after the plane landed at Haneda.

On Oct 5, Sugino, who has worked for ANA since 1988, was ordered to resign due to professional misconduct.

Following Sugino’s disciplinary dismissal, ANA released a public apology vowing to reduce compensation for board members, company managers, its president and chairman. In addition, ANA group employees will be prohibited from consuming alcohol in airport lounges and on board flights.

It is not known yet if the woman intends to file a criminal complaint.

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42 Comments
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It's a shame he wasn't arrested in Paris, where the "I was drunk" excuse doesn't fly, to my knowledge. Because, for a cervical sprain, if you think simply being forced to resign (for which he will likely still receive a massive severance package) is adequate punishment, you are incredibly stupid. The man deserves to do time for what he's done, and he wasn't even fired! As for the other "vows" ANA has made, we all know what corporate "vows" are worth in Japan.

I hope the woman files a criminal suit against the man AND the company, and keeps this in the media both here and abroad for some time to come.

-9 ( +19 / -28 )

I wonder why he assaulted, attacked her in the first place. Was he trying to get friendly with her and she rebuffed him? A little more information would be nice. Great way to throw away your career! Let this be a lesson to all of you, don't drink heavily and fly! Remember the American engineer that urinated on another passenger on an ANA flight from Chicago to Japan after consuming several glasses of champagne.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

MarkX: "I wonder why he assaulted, attacked her in the first place."

Outside of personal interest, does it matter? There's zero excuse for it.

-1 ( +13 / -14 )

As for the other "vows" ANA has made, we all know what corporate "vows" are worth in Japan.

I don't know of any employers in Korea or the US or the west who would reduce compensation of board members, the president, and chairman for the act of a staff member.

I hope the woman files a criminal suit against the man AND the company, and keeps this in the media both here and abroad for some time to come.

Because its all about prosecuting that guy for her injuries, or is this all about embarrassing Japanese companies in the foreign press? What's more important do you think.?

17 ( +21 / -4 )

I do not know this man as my job does not typically put me into contact with people from corporate. Ever since the Nut Rage incident I have always thought about how I would react to any exec acting up a fool on my flight.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Woah, talking about royally destroying career.. , so now after working for them for 30 years, he will be let go with no compensation ( resignation) and at 50+ with a scandal like that.. which guarantees he is never working again in his industry or pay rank....

also, making all ANA staff hate him...

Impressive... I wonder what happened for him to actually do it..

10 ( +11 / -1 )

TigersTokyoDome: "I don't know of any employers in Korea or the US or the west who would reduce compensation of board members, the president, and chairman for the act of a staff member."

In what assault cases are you speaking, beyond hypothetical?

"Because its all about prosecuting that guy for her injuries, or is this all about embarrassing Japanese companies in the foreign press? What's more important do you think.?"

A is more important for the woman and justice in general since, as I pointed out, the man is hardly being punished (and as I also said, since he is resigning and not being fired will likely receive severance and not be kept from similar jobs in the future), and B for future passengers, since we all know embarrassing companies overseas is the only way Japanese companies will ever actually change. Look at how much companies like Takata tried to avoid changing their ways, and some people STILL blame the US for what happened.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

smith, I would have thought that punishing that individual and compensating the lady for her injuries are the main goals here. There is nothing that ANA can do about an employee losing it like this apart from their retrospective actions. And after 30 years of service and rising to Paris branch manager he wasn't exactly on the dangerous list.

since he is resigning and not being fired will likely receive severance

If you know Japan employment law it is pretty difficult to fire staff and you have to use other ways around it such as this. There is no evidence here whatsoever of any severance pay and him having to resign from a management job at ANA after 30 years is a pretty big punishment.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Reducing salaries is not a punishment!! They just get it back in their bonuses!

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

He needs to duke it out with the Korean nut-rage lady in a winner take all celebrity grudge match on the undercard of the next UFC McGregor megafight

4 ( +6 / -2 )

He needs to duke it out with the Korean nut-rage lady in a winner take all celebrity grudge match on the undercard of the next UFC McGregor megafight

Haha. Nevada State Commission will need to step in. Who's going to wear the Dagestan hat.?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Whilst incidents of "airplane rage" seem to be relatively few and far between, I can imagine they're pretty scary because you may feel trapped due to the fact you're in a plane. I hope the victim wasn't too traumatised by the event and can recover.

I hope the woman files a criminal suit against the man AND the company, and keeps this in the media both here and abroad for some time to come.

What good would bringing criminal charges against ANA do? ANA aren't criminally responsible for the actions of their employees. (Maybe you've got shares in JAL - I don't know.)

Anyway, it's up to the victim if she wants to press charges or not. She also has the separate option of bringing a civil case, especially as she might have grounds to involve ANA in that, as he may have been flying for business purposes and therefore acting in the course of his job by being on the plane.

On a side note, I feel bad about the fact all ANA group employees are facing punishment due to this one person's actions. If you're flying long-haul, an alcoholic drink can be very handy, especially if it helps you fall asleep. Of course it's understandable why ANA has brought this rule in.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

As for the other "vows" ANA has made, we all know what corporate "vows" are worth in Japan.

...since we all know embarrassing companies overseas is the only way Japanese companies will ever actually change.

It seems to me that ANA have done pretty much the right thing here. I don't see how the actions of a passenger on one of their flights is necessarily the responsibility of ANA anyway. He wasn't in uniform, wasn't working on that flight and anything he did wasn't done whilst representing the company. He might well have been taking advantage of his company Air Miles bonus, but he was travelling as a 'civilian'. He has to take personal responsibility first and foremost.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Good post from shumatsu.

One important point - maybe the carriers are responsible for serving 6 glasses of wine. 4 of anything is enough on a flight.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The article does not say how he inflicted those injuries - intentionally, or accidentally - such as falling while getting back into his seat.   Since it seems that no criminal complaint was made, I suspect it was unintentional.  It does say assaulted, but it seems he was not arrested.

I don't know the ANA Rule Of Employment - but it will surely cover dismissal for causing embarrasment to ANA and the financial implications of such.  As he is no longer an employee, he will naturally lose his bonus - but it is unlikely that he would lose any of his salary or his pension.

The management team which has taken a pay cut will NOT make it back in their bonuses.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

And in true japanase male fashion its a woman he decides to beat up on.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

One important point - maybe the carriers are responsible for serving 6 glasses of wine. 4 of anything is enough on a flight.

I'm sure some folks would react violently to being cut-off after 4 drinks too.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I'd image that out of all of the places to be assigned in the world, Paris branch manager must have been a pretty plum assignment- this guy must have been a real high achiever in the company, or knew somebody. Well, he can kiss all of that goodbye now.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It is my personal opinion that alcohol should not be served on any flights.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Bungle - Are you kidding? How else is anyone over 170 cm tall supposed to survive a long-haul flight in economy without alcohol?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

She would be crazy not to.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The article does not say how he inflicted those injuries .... It does say assaulted .....

Then the article DOES say how he inflicted those injuries. It says he inflicted the injuries by assaulting her.

intentionally, or accidentally - such as falling while getting back into his seat

I guess you've never flown in business class -- the class of service that the article says they were flying. There's considerable space between seats compared to economy class.

That he could accidentally fall from his seat's vicinity over to hers, and inflict the kind of injury he did, in the more-spacious business class is very far-fetched.

I suspect it was unintentional.

Then your judgment is way off. The article said he has resigned. Why would he have resigned if it was just an accident?

t also says that the woman's injuries resulted from an assault -- not an accident. Assaults aren't "unintentional," genius.

Don't defend this guy out of some misplaced sense of Japanese honor, Omachi-san.

If a Japanese person behaves inexcusably, don't defend it just because the culprit is one of your compatriots.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I would agree with smithinjapan, it is a pity that he was not arrested in Paris. Even if an assaulted passenger did not file criminal charges, he would stand a bigger chance anyway of being charged with endangering an aircraft.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

ANA aren't criminally responsible for the actions of their employees.

If he was flying to Japan for business, ANA could very well be liable as he could be considered 'on the job' while traveling for official business. Just like in some circumstances a company can be held liable for something you do during your lunch.

They could also be held liable for not cutting off serving him alcohol if he was obviously drunk.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I got 1000yen that says it started as a sexual assault, and she fought back.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

If he was flying to Japan for business, ANA could very well be liable as he could be considered 'on the job' while traveling for official business. Just like in some circumstances a company can be held liable for something you do during your lunch.

They could also be held liable for not cutting off serving him alcohol if he was obviously drunk.

Exactement!

I hope the woman is lawyering up, and threatens ANA and the exec with both a civil and criminal case.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

having to resign from a management job at ANA after 30 years is a pretty big punishment.

For an assault which caused a cervical sprain? Do you know the force required to cause such an injury?

He deserves jail, not simply being "forced" to resign.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

 wasn't in uniform, wasn't working on that flight and anything he did wasn't done whilst representing the company. 

As a manager, he represented them 24/7. His only job was to be the face of the company. They look pathetic now.

But maybe ANA has that name because "ils boivent comme des trous" (they drink like holes).

Why would he have resigned if it was just an accident?

Just being seen stupidly drunk in his company's plane was enough to motivate resignation.

I was not there to know if he was violent or just clumsy. Could be he is a big guy and he lost his balance on top of a rank of passengers. The cause is his drinking, he should be held responsible. Nobody spiked his drinks, he chose to get 7 refills.

it is a pity that he was not arrested in Paris. 

The lady can sue him in Paris or Tokyo. He lives...used to live in Paris. That depends where she lives. Penalties are bigger in Japanese courts. It's possible French judges would refuse to take the case as it's not big , he was not driving or anything. Courts are overwhelmed, they'd tell the woman to see with her insurance (that would sue him or his insurance for money and frankly that'd be the most convenient for the victim). I know persons in France that caused deaths while drunk (usually driving, there are arsons too), and even at the second or third murder, they did not have to do jail time.

an ANA business class cabin I have never seen before 

The photo is theirs. Same cabin as shown on their French webpage.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Hakman - Not defending at all, but rather pointing out what we don't know.  If it was intentional he should be arrested - why wasn't he?  Even if not intentional, but an accident fueled by drink, he still deserves to be sued, dismissed, etc. - but not criminally charged.  I have over a million miles in business class, but was never drunk, and have had difficulty getting into my own window seat, having to step over a sleeping passenger and with the seat in front in a reclining position.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

One important point - maybe the carriers are responsible for serving 6 glasses of wine. 4 of anything is enough on a flight.

Arbitrarily decide what is "right" or "wrong"? Next you are going to suggest that we can only have so many of one thing or another. 4 cups of coffee "enough"? How about water? Beer?

I will not have you, the airline, or anyone else dictate to me whether I can have 4 or more, or less for that matter of anything, as long as there are no regulations stating otherwise.

Not everyone acts like an arse when drinking, and I have become mildly inebriated on long flights, (14 hours) and believe me I have more than 6. But I didnt assault anyone, and it never came into my mind to do so.

The dude was an arse, BEFORE he even had one drink! Anyone who uses alcohol as an excuse to abuse others, or starts fights when they drink, whatever, they had problems well before the first beverage was served!

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Cerivical has two meanings. One refers to the neck and the other the cervix. We’re not sure exactly what the Japanese man was doing.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Sugino has since resigned from his position, ANA said.

Well and good, he will now have to await his fate on whether the passenger who he assaulted chooses or not to file charges against him! (If it was me...HELL YES) We have a right to expect to be safe on airlines, and for an airline employee to assault another passenger is just ludicrous!

On Oct 5, Sugino, who has worked for ANA since 1988, was ordered to resign due to professional misconduct.

Wait one? Why sugar coat it! It was quit or be fired! The airline did him a favor really, firing him would have gave him almost no opportunity for any further decent employment, quitting gives him a chance to find other gainful employment!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Why are so many people here gunning for ANA? I agree the employee should be prosecuted, either criminally or in civil court, but why do we always feel the need to go after the employer as well? I feel that people are using the courts as a type of lottery game. Get assaulted, win a million dollar prize.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

ANA's long haul business class seats are not like those shown in the photo above. They have a staggered configuration which means you are quite isolated from the person next to you. It would be difficult to accidentally come into contact with someone in an adjacent seat. Unless he was staggering around the aisle like a drunken fool and fell onto the woman he would have to have made a deliberate effort to touch her.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I will not have you, the airline, or anyone else dictate to me whether I can have 4 or more, or less for that matter of anything, as long as there are no regulations stating otherwise.

Exactly the sort of aggressive comment made by the sort of passenger who kicks off after they can't handle their drink (or can't handle a limit placed on their drinks).

The dude was an arse, BEFORE he even had one drink! Anyone who uses alcohol as an excuse to abuse others, or starts fights when they drink, whatever, they had problems well before the first beverage was served!

Absolutely no proof whatsoever that this guy was trouble before drinking. In fact, I have already pointed out the fact that after 30 years of service and working in a senior role, any court in the world would recognise that the signs were that he was not on the danger list before getting drunk.

Next you are going to suggest that we can only have so many of one thing or another. 4 cups of coffee "enough"? How about water?

Now you are just being silly. My point is a valid one. There is no need to drink 6 glasses of wine on a flight. There should be a limit to stop these incidents happening.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

TigersTokyoDome,

please dont attempt to have even more nanny state encroachments on us. As everywhere, adults can take personal responsibility for their drinking. The overwhelming majority can drink without becoming violent or deciding to urinate on their neighbor. For those who cant hold their liquor the solution is obvious and in their own hands.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Cochise, many airlines already have a policy to restrict drinks to passengers. Airline flights are not pubs. They are not there for the purpose of people being able to drink all they can. And there are more families, young children, and non-drinkers on flights then there are big drinkers. If you want to drink all you can then go down the pub. The price of your air ticket does not specify 'drink all you can'.

Putting a cap on inflight drinks is not nanny state. It's just being sensible.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

It actually does have "all you can drink,unless you will get violent" on the business and first class tix , I usually have quite a few drinks while and before due to flight anxiety... its just helps me sleep and I have never attacked a single person.

I have also seen plenty unruly , violent and rude people and event stuartds in planes.. with not a single drop of alcohol.

oh and smithinjapan , you obviously not familiar with JP employment ,but self resignation means company is NOT liable for any compensation. , this usually achieved thru a private package backpay in normal case.. ,in this one its most likely just flat resignation.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Yubaru, which employment? Bar or conveni ? or a grumpy taxi driver? nobody else would hire him... employment history is not private.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

TigersTokyoDome: "smith, I would have thought that punishing that individual and compensating the lady for her injuries are the main goals here."

They AREN'T punishing him -- he's resigning, likely with a massive severance package, and since he's not getting a black mark on his record as having been fired, he can likely be hired wherever else he chooses.

"If you know Japan employment law it is pretty difficult to fire staff and you have to use other ways around it such as this."

No, it's only difficult if you don't want to follow contracts, which explicitly state this kind of behaviour -- CRIME -- is not permissible, and which also state at some point in a contract that employers may fire a person if they do not abide by the regulations therein. The only "difficulty" is making an easy decision which may set a precedent for actions many, people in even higher positions included.

I'm still waiting for you to point out the examples you mentioned of American and Korean airlines not being as "strict" as ANA here. I notice you could not follow up on that part of your fact giving process.

Alex Einz: "oh and smithinjapan , you obviously not familiar with JP employment ,but self resignation means company is NOT liable for any compensation. , this usually achieved thru a private package backpay in normal case.. ,in this one its most likely just flat resignation."

So, I'm "obviously not familiar" with things that you can't even state are factual? I mean, you end your comment with, "Well... in this case... I mean... it's more than likely that... ahem... well... maybe just 'flat resignation (sic)'. I like how you back up your "obvious" facts with "maybes". Well done.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Alex Einz: "Yubaru, which employment? Bar or conveni ? or a grumpy taxi driver? nobody else would hire him... employment history is not private."

Prove it. This nation is renowned for hiring people who have literally been convicted of crimes into positions of power, or like Shimizu, who literally fled Fukushima for Osaka when the NPP blew, "flat resigned" with a golden parachute of MILLIONS, and then was hired as an advisor on nuclear power elsewhere. This guy will be rehired easily, and can continue to get wasted and abuse people, but if it's here he won't be "punished" as much, if at all.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

TigersTokyoDome: "Putting a cap on inflight drinks is not nanny state. It's just being sensible."

THAT we can agree on.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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