At least he’s consistent.

A couple days ago, we reported on the arrest of Junya Okuno on charges of obstruction of business, assault, and other violations of aviation laws. To recap, a flight he was on had to make an emergency stop when he refused to wear a face mask in the close quarters of the cabin, and while causing a ruckus on his ejection, he allegedly injured the arm of a flight attendant.

You might think this would be a lesson in humility for Okuno, but as news footage of his arrest shows, old habits die hard.

Despite repeated requests by police to put on a face mask during arrest and interrogations Okuno refused, saying it was “Because I’m a mask-refusing guy.” He also reportedly is not cooperating with authorities and, rather than admitting or denying the charges, told the police: “It’s true that I boarded the Peach flight, but please see my blog for the rest.”

It’s not only the epitome of clickbait he just pulled, but overall Okuno seems dead bent on branding himself as not just “a mask-refusing guy” but “THE Mask-Refusing Guy” of Japan. In fact, his belligerence is so over the top that many netizens are doubting his authenticity.

“We’ve done it. We’ve reached the limit of stubborn old men.”
“He’s clearly trying to become the Internet’s newest plaything.”
“He found the stupidest way in the world to become famous. Pathetic.”
“I’m not even angry. He knows what he’s doing.”
“He should wear a mask just because he’s ugly.”
“They should call him the ‘Refused-by-Society Guy’ instead.”
“He’s working hard to be the most famous idiot of Reiwa. We’ll keep seeing him on all the talk shows once he gets out.”

Indeed, Okuno has been popping up on discussion shows since the disturbance on the plane last September. On clips from an Abema TV show that aired last October, he apologized for the inconvenience but asserted his claim that wearing a mask infringes on our social freedoms.

In addition to the plane incident, reports emerged that Okuna also caused a disturbance in a museum at the Imperial Palace for visiting without a mask last summer, and then again last November at a hotel in Nagano Prefecture.

So Mask-Refusing Guy certainly seems to be an a national tour of anti-masking hijinks. I, however, will not take him seriously until he also removes those societal shackles in front of his eyes. They are interfering with his freedom to not see, and instead we all should be expected to help him when he steps in front of buses and can’t find his way around.

Then and only then will he truly be walking the walk.

Source: Mainichi Shimbun, Kyodo, Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso
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