People in Japan are seething with anger at the selfishness of the anti-masker.

For years, people in Japan have been wearing masks to prevent allergies during hayfever season and to prevent infections during flu season, so it’s been a no-brainer for the vast majority of the public to mask up during the current pandemic.

However, a small minority of people now appear to be following in the footsteps of anti-maskers abroad by pushing back against the mask, despite the fact that they probably happily wore masks throughout their lives way before COVID-19.

While there are no fines for not wearing masks in Japan, there can be consequences for those who refuse to wear them, and that was the case on Monday when a man refused to wear a mask onboard a flight from Kushiro Airport in Hokkaido to Kansai Airport in Osaka.

The man, who was flying with Japanese airline Peach Aviation, was seen without a mask before takeoff, and after a flight attendant asked him to wear a mask, he failed to respond. According to the airline, the man was asked to wear a mask again during the flight but he refused, and when other passengers said they didn’t want to be near a person without a mask, an argument ensued, with the man raising his voice and accusing them of slander.

▼ Peach is a budget airline based in Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture.

Cabin crew told the man he would be issued with a written warning if he refused to comply, and he told them to go ahead and try it. The man’s bravado didn’t last for long, however, as the captain of the aircraft deemed him to be disturbing the order on board the aircraft, and made an unscheduled landing at Niigata Airport to remove the man from the plane.

Following the temporary landing, the flight continued on its journey to Osaka without the man onboard, arriving in Kansai Airport two hours and fifteen minutes behind schedule, causing delays for the plane’s 124 passengers.

People around Japan were full of praise for the pilot, and couldn’t contain their anger at the man’s actions, saying:

“I’m so mad over this. They should charge the idiot for fuel!”
“What a child — I wouldn’t want to be in the same space as that moron!”
“I don’t want to be anywhere near people with low morals like that!”
“So incredibly selfish. He should be blacklisted from air travel.”
“He should compensate everybody on that plane for causing the delay!”

According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, this is the first case of a temporary landing by a passenger aircraft on a domestic flight due to a passenger not wearing a mask onboard.  Japanese airlines have been asking passengers to wear masks to help stop the spread of coronavirus, and Peach Aviation says all passengers are asked to follow the instructions of crew members in order to ensure safe operations.

So next time you’re on a plane, spare a thought for the people around you — and the people putting themselves on the line to get you where you want to go — and mask up. If you’re in Japan, there are plenty of masks on the market to choose from.

Source: NHK via Hachima Kikou
Featured image: Pakutaso
Insert image: Wikipedia/Laurent ERRERA
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