After a disturbance he caused by–you guessed it–not wearing a mask.

You probably have heard by now about a certain Japanese man who seems determined to make himself famous as “the guy who refuses to wear a mask”. After a relatively high-profile incident where he forced a plane to make an unscheduled landing because he refused to follow cabin crew requests that he put a mask on, 34-year-old Junya Okuno was later reported to continue to refuse a mask in a hotel restaurant and even in custody after being arrested for the airplane incident.

Now he’s back in the news again with a fresh new incident, this time in Chiba prefecture. Once again he caused a disturbance when he refused to wear a mask, after which he punched a police officer, and was, for the second time, arrested.

▼ Junya Okuno

Okuno visited a popular restaurant famous for tempura bowls made with fresh fish in Tateyama City in Chiba prefecture at around 11:30 a.m. on April 10. According to witnesses, he entered the restaurant, which was already full with about 15 customers, without a mask, and silently sat down in a chair by the window to the kitchen.

Witnesses reported him helping himself to the beer tap before staff asked him to stop. Staff then requested he put on a mask while waiting for his food and use the hand sanitizing solution at the entrance of the restaurant, but Okuno ignored all requests to comply, saying, “I don’t wear masks.”

The staff then said something along the lines of, “That is the rule of the restaurant, so if you won’t comply, please leave.” That’s when Okuno apparently got belligerent. According to a witness, he jumped from his seat and began to shout, so the staff, with the help of various customers, had to try to force him out, and that’s when the following footage was taken.

In the video, you can see Okuno arguing with several people, and quickly becoming physically defensive. A staff member tries to hand him a mask, as if in silent plea, which he snatches from her hand and flings into the kitchen (where it rather splendidly lands to hang off of a piece of tempura). Meanwhile, another person is requesting that the person filming call the police, “Because [someone] was hit”. An eyewitness confirmed that that someone had been punched in the nose and was bleeding.

Afterwards, various men are seen forcing a struggling Okuno out of the store as a female staff members shouts with dismay, but he doesn’t go without a fight. The crowd crashes into tables and chairs, so roughly that one table even left a hole in the wall.

According to news reports, after forcing Okuna out of the restaurant, four male customers restrained him and pinned him to the ground while waiting for the police to arrive. Five police officers soon appeared and attempted to question Okuno about the incident, but Okuno appeared belligerent towards the police as well. He complained about their “illegal searches” and the way they spoke to him, all while using casual speech with them himself.

At some point while arguing with the police, Okuno, whether by accident or on purpose, punched an officer in the chin, and was promptly arrested for the charge of “interfering with the work of a public official”.

▼ More footage of the incident, as well as witness interviews.

All in all, the incident lasted about an hour, but caused the restaurant to close for the day and remain closed for several days.

“What would we do if we became the source of a cluster outbreak?” said one staff member interviewed by ANN News. “Some customers helped us out…but what if they got infected? Who would be responsible? It’s really upsetting. As an adult, it’s really unforgivable.”

In response to this latest incident with Okuno, who is now being known as “the mask passenger” or “the man who refuses to wear a mask,” Japanese netizens were simply dumbfounded by his apparently blind dedication to his beliefs, with some saying they were frightened by his aggressive behavior.

“Just when I thought another guy like the Peach Aviation no-masker appeared, it actually ended up being the Peach Aviation no-masker.”
“That guy’s at it again.”

“This guy is scary. If he’d made such a fuss on the Peach airplane, the cabin attendants would be terrified.”
“He was just arrested in January, and now he’s arrested again lol. The prosecutor was against releasing him the first time because he was worried he would cause another disturbance. Naturally he was right.”
“He really can’t control his emotions. He’s becoming someone we shouldn’t talk about anymore.”
“I saw this, and I definitely don’t think it’s normal. He probably thinks he’s getting arrested for not wearing a mask, not for punching a police officer. I don’t know if he’ll go to prison but if he gets out, it sounds like he’d do it again.”
“Is he trying be an activist, or is he trying to get people to pay attention to him? Either way, he’s causing problems.”

After he was arrested the first time and still refused to wear a mask while in custody, many people theorized that he was trying to force his way into notoriety by being a staunch anti-mask activist. After the first incident he started a blog and even made an appearance on television to talk about the right to not wear a mask. A scholar of criminal psychology does believe that he strongly believes in what he says, however; he even suggested that Okuno is so invested in his beliefs that he is unable to grasp the full situation and realize that what he’s doing is wrong.

Regardless, his behavior is frightening, especially in Japan, where avoiding conflict is generally preferred in all situations. Time will tell if his multiple brushes with the law and the authorities will help open his eyes, but we can only hope that no one else will get hurt.

Source: YouTube/ANN News via TV Asahi News via Hachima Kiko, Kyodo via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso

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