Altercation between stranded Chinese tourists and Japanese police at Tokyo airport | Society News | SupChina

Altercation between stranded Chinese tourists and Japanese police at Tokyo airport

On January 25, video of a physical confrontation between Japanese police officers and frustrated Chinese travelers at a Tokyo airport caught lots of attention on social media.

A flight from Narita International Airport to Shanghai Pudong Airport was scheduled to board at 9:45 pm on January 24, but due to heavy snow in Shanghai, Jetstar Japan, a low-fare Japanese airline, announced a 24-hour delay, which left all 180 passengers stranded at the airport.

Narita International Airport 2

Some Chinese tourists said they saw five Japanese passengers picked up by the airline after the delay was announced. The budget carrier allegedly rejected requests to have Chinese-speaking staff assist the remaining Chinese passengers.

Chinese tourists also said that staff from Jesstar Japan treated them with a “bad attitude,” asking them to collect their own baggage and solve accommodation problems while yelling at them in English, “Get out!”

The dispute boiled over when a Chinese traveler attempted to visit a vending machine in the departure area in the early hours of Thursday morning. When the passenger was stopped by an airline staffer who told him not to walk around, the quarrel escalated into a physical confrontation between the passengers and the airline company’s employees.

One Chinese passenger and two airline staff suffered minor injuries.

Narita International Airport 1

Narita International Airport 3

When Japanese police arrived at the scene, they ignored the Chinese passengers’ requests to have a translator, and arrested a Chinese tourist.

As officers and passengers jostled, the crowd broke into a rendition of the Chinese national anthem.

The Chinese Embassy in Japan soon intervened. After negotiation, Jetstar Japan agreed to send the stranded passengers to a hotel nearby, and to offer meals as compensation.

On Friday morning, all the Chinese passengers — minus the one who was arrested — safely boarded the plane. According to the Chinese Embassy in Japan, the Chinese passenger in custody had access to a lawyer and translator, and the case is now under review.

On Chinese social media, public opinion regarding the news is widely divided. While some internet users say the incident was a result of discrimination and that Jetstar Japan should apologize for its unfair treatment of Chinese passengers, others have commented that that it’s a disgrace that the Chinese passengers made unreasonable demands, since Jetstar Japan is a low-budget carrier. “You should have known what kind of service you would receive when you bought low-fare flight tickets. It’s so embarrassing,” wrote one commenter.

Jiayun Feng

Jiayun was born in Shanghai, where she spent her first 20 years and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism at Fudan University. Interested in writing for a global audience, she attended the NYU Graduate School of Journalism for its Global & Joint Program Studies, which allowed her to pursue a journalism career along with her interest in international relations. She has previously interned for Sixth Tone and Shanghai Daily.


  1. jac Reply

    It’s too bad Chinese aren’t more demanding of the crappy services in China!! Constant delays and cancellations!! In fact, the worst in the world!

  2. Mike Reply

    Well perhaps Jetstar could have handled it better but as a foreigner living in Japan I do share the resentment towards Chinese tourists. Seriously a lot of Chinese tourist think they can behave the same in Japan as they do back home. They have no manners or respect.

    1. Will Kemp Reply

      Why not just write ‘I’m a bit racist’ on your forehead and be done with it? Either the service offered by Jetstar was bad or it wasn’t, trying to justify mistreating a group of customers because of their nationality is pretty disgusting.

      1. Ric Reply

        Chinese tourists are known all over the world for being rude and uncouth.

        It’s just a fact. Sorry that it offends your fee-fees so.

      2. not from communist china Reply

        the racist thing is that they sang the horrible communist Chinese national anthem in a foreign airport. the communist Chinese Naitonals has brought shame to all oriental looking Asians all around the world, especially in North America. These people should be put in holding cell and have their traveling visa revoked. Although they’d probably have a better time in the holding cell than in China since they’d be grant basic human rights.

  3. Serefin Reply

    Chinese people are rude. ESPECIALLY ratchet mainlanders. They’re dirty and loud. They make the rest of the Chinese population looks bad. Chinese tourists have a bad reputation wherever they go. They need to learn some manners. I feel bad for whoever has to deal with Chinese tourists.

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