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Japanese Pilots Jailed - Is this Regular?

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Japanese Pilots Jailed - Is this Regular?

Old 11th Aug 2004, 01:46
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Japanese Pilots Jailed - Is this Regular?

Looking at a 767 contract offshore.

Speaking to friends that have flown there one thing amazed me - the fact that pilots are jailed on what seems to be a regular occurrence.

The first case was a JAL 747 that encountered severe turbulence suddenly.
A F/A was subsequently killed by the severe jolt and pax injured.
The result?..........Captain jailed for 2 years!

The second occurence was an ANA 767 doing circuits somewhere a few years back.
For whatever reason the aircraft speared off the runway and was damaged.
No loss of life or injuries sustained.
That Captain was still in jail last I was told.

It seems as if the Captain is blamed and sent off to jail if either an aircraft is damaged to a certain degree or there is loss of life incurred.

Does this apply to Western pilots on Contract????

Having seen an ABC program (or was it 60 minutes?) on the Japanese justice system I'm not sure I would like to be subjected to this rule of law.
Has this system been tested on any expat pilots????
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Old 11th Aug 2004, 02:18
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Talking

Any accident (damage to aircraft) or incident where anyone is injured (spends more than 48...or 72...hours in hospital) results in it becoming a police matter.

Case in point. Last year a B737 was on descent into Fukuoka (no, there's no "c" in that word!!), and the aircraft encountered CAT.
One of the cabin crew was injured, and it was thought that she would have to deadhead back to home base, due to her inability to work.
I was due to take over the aircraft, however was told that the flight was now delayed - time frame unknown - as the police had to "inspect" the cockpit, and that nothing was allowed to be touched!!
Remember, the accident occurred on descent, and so the aircraft would have had to have been configured for landing, and then subsequently after landing and then parked, re-configured again.
However, "the scene of the crime" was not to be disturbed, and the oncoming crew (us) were not allowed near it.

Fortunately, the F/A underwent a miraculous recovery - no doubt after a lot of pressure was applied to her, as to exactly what the repercussions of her injuries would mean on the cockpit crew - and she elected to continue duty.
The investigation was cancelled.

THAT is the mentality here.
Japan is a Police state, where everything, and everyone is very closely monitored. And THAT is one reason why Japanese don't usually stand out in a crowd.

"Does this apply to Western pilots on Contract????"
Without a doubt!!
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Old 11th Aug 2004, 02:36
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Kaptin I think it also applies to all foreign pilots operating into Japan. This also happens in some other countries......Greece is one place where I can remember it happening.
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Old 11th Aug 2004, 02:56
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Keg

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Exclamation

Tunguska, that JAL captain that you think has been locked away for 2 years actually had the charges against him dismissed by a court- as they should have been. I'm unsure about the other example you can use but it was a recent IFALPA broadcast about the skipper where the F/A died. I reckon if you did a search of the IFALPA web site or similar then you may find something.

Actually, I just checked the AIPA web site and found this:

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Prosecutors filed an appeal Friday against a ruling that found a Japan Airlines captain not guilty of professional negligence when his plane encountered air turbulence in 1997, injuring 14 people on board, including a cabin crew member who eventually died.

Yoshihiro Nanbu, deputy chief prosecutor of the Nagoya District Public Prosecutor's Office, said they decided to appeal the Nagoya District Court's decision to acquit Koichi Takamoto, calling the court's failure to recognize the captain's negligence a "huge mistake."

On July 31, the court acquitted Takamoto, 54, who was in command of Flight 706, an MD-11 with 179 passengers and crew members on board, from Hong Kong to Nagoya on June 8, 1997.

Presiding Judge Yoji Ishiyama said the violent jarring of the aircraft near Nagoya was mainly attributable to the pilot intentionally overriding the autopilot by pulling the controls abruptly, but ruled that the pilot could not have predicted the injuries and that there was no proof of any criminal act.

In appealing the court decision, however, Nanbu said Takamoto "made (flight) maneuvers that other captains would not have done and (he) could have predicted the danger of causing an accident resulting in death or injury."

The Japan Times: Aug. 7, 2004
It doesn't change the fact that the police had no hesitation charging the bloke but at least the court saw sense.
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Old 11th Aug 2004, 05:35
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I think its pertinent to comment that this thread is all about certain countries legal system, not about aviation/airlines legislation.

Woomera
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Old 11th Aug 2004, 05:55
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Woomera, very true.

Never was it the intention to bring disrepute to any individual or company.

I merely sought to seek advice from those that live or work under contract in Japan and to see how far that legislation extended with respect to Tech Crew.
With alot of potential jobs in the future presenting themselves in Japan I suppose forewarned is forearmed.

From what I hear and have read I agree with Kaptin M - no Captain is immune.
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Old 11th Aug 2004, 10:42
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Within the Japanese ethos when something goes wrong or an injury occurs, then someone must take the blame, it springs from Bushido and saving face, honour and duty to your superiors. This is why, a couple of years ago, when a Japanese Bank confessed to bad deals, a manager of its parent bank resigned to atone for his lack of oversight, even through he was well removed from the source of the errors.

When the Japanese police investigate an incidence there is less done to find and fix the systemic problems that existed that allowed the incident to occur, than to find out who is to blame and to what degree they must atone for their error.

The above is a very blunt and extremely abridged verison of the Japanese attitude towards "crime" and punishment, and it will take more study on mybehalf to really understand the Japanese and this most fascinating subject.
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Old 11th Aug 2004, 12:03
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No names here....

An Aussie Pilot I know - lived in Japan for a few years (not as an aviator) and had an interesting brush with the Japanese legal system.

An hour after parking his car in a legal spot, a speeding motorcycle hit the side of the vehicle and the rider was hospitalised.

The result was that due to there being an injury, the police were called and 'ol mate was charged.

The charge was non-participant responsibility of an accident.

The reason: If the car was not parked there, it would not have been hit by the motorcycle. Even though it was legally parked. Ironically, if the car was not parked there, the next car in line would have been hit and it's owner charged.

The ensuing pre-court meeting offered a deal (no defense lawyer allowed!): Admit responsibility, apologise and all is forgiven. otherwise, take your chances - with the minimum result being deportation.

After being offered the deal in writing (in english), responsibility taken, apology made, hands shook by all and case closed.

The Police kept their 99.9% success record intact. 'ol mate was allowed to stay in Japan.

Lesson: Not all countries follow the ideal of Fair Justice or Innocent until proven gulity.
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Old 11th Aug 2004, 16:52
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Not only Japan

The Korean Air Law exam has a whole section on "Crime & Punisment" with a sliding scale of fines and/or imprisonment depending on the nature of the "Offence" and the number and severity of injuries or damage. There may even be the Death Penalty for rather serious pre-meditated crashing!

One or two other countries in the region are similarly endowed with harsh laws.
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Old 12th Aug 2004, 21:32
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No wonder the Japs lost the war.
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Old 12th Aug 2004, 21:51
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Much the same in the big sandpit.

Wet conditions.... ('cause not too much rain there..) powerful SUVs.... skid into an ex-pat's car.......

Who's to blame?

The Ex-Pat of course!!
If his car wasn't there... ta da ta da ta da etc!

And we still support them, 'cause the've got the Black Gold, Texas T!

Japan, hmm, nasty business with that JAL capt. Not fair...
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Old 12th Aug 2004, 22:49
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Not dissimilar her in Oz. Look at the heavy handed tactis being used by JetWally management against their pilots, simply for delaying a flight.
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Old 13th Aug 2004, 04:00
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Again it comes down to "cultural differences".
Whilst on the surface other countries may appear to have similar (to Oz) systems (legal, banking, airline sop's), once the surface is scratched those systems' differences soon become apparent. (Off on a quick tangent - similar to RFG's and Plas Teek's stories, a gaijin here in Japan had his almost new 4WD rammed by a woman who ran a STOP sign. Although she was totally in the wrong, he had to pay 20% of the damage costs because had he NOT been there, there wouldn't have been an accident!)

Now you also need to understand that the Law in foreign countries is often meted out in inconsistent ways. In Asia (and Japan IS an Asian country, in spite of the fact that they don't believe they are), foreigners are quite often seen as the REASON for the accident/incident - sometimes without even being directly involved!

The system is hardly ever at fault - in fact if a faulty system is in place, then the workers will be expected to work with/around it, rather than admitting that it is the cause of many problems.
And woe betide the person who DOES get caught out.

Asian culture is such that it will make an example of a person, rather than try to fix the problem, and the lower down the chain that blame can be apportioned, the better.

But ALWAYS remember that foreigners are at the bottom of the chain!
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Old 13th Aug 2004, 05:19
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So it appears that they're rascist bastards. And the Asians reckon us roundeyes are rascist.

Last edited by The Enema Bandit; 13th Aug 2004 at 21:02.
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Old 17th Aug 2004, 01:28
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what are you talking about enema ? , the bleeding hearts and do-gooders in Oz think that we are racists, let alone anyone outside Oz, but you try and tell them any of the stories above................like talking to a brick wall.

Slightly unrelated, but I remember when the tail came off that JAL 747, the head of engineering commited suicide over the acccident, and alot of JAL employees were spat on, just walking down the street, if anyone found out who they worked for.
Strange people indeed.

However, some of the above examples are simply a case of " not taking responsibility for ones own actions " gone wrong, and guess which way we are heading..........................
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Old 17th Aug 2004, 07:54
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Responsibility is indeed an interesting concept in Japan.

Individuals are expected to take the blame, even for systemic failures and rarely does this individual sacrifice lead to any improvement in the system.

The most recent classic example is Mitsubishi Motors. The individuals who walked the plank basically committed their mistakes in the altruistic cause of protecting the company. They were then abandoned by that very same company. It could all happen again given the right set of circumstances.

It is also interesting that there is really no concept of collective or national responsibility for righting past wrongs. Most Japanese consider themselves victims (Hiroshima & Nagasaki) in the WWII extravaganza. Any atrocities committed in the Pacifc Theatre are either denied or blamed on the Japanese military which is not seen as something that individual Japanese or modern Japanese institutions bear any responsibility for.

It is often said that Japan is not a true state measured by our consciousness. Rather it is a headless concoction of special interest groups that has no concept of collective responsibility.

And the takeaway from all this....don't bend an aircraft anywhere near the archipelago.
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Old 29th Aug 2004, 03:57
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Looks like another "interesting" day of flying ahead

RJFT 290300Z 291206 07025KT 9999 FEW025 SCT035 BKN120
TEMPO 1218 07030G45KT
TEMPO 1824 07040G60KT SHRA
TEMPO 0003 07060G90KT 4000 SHRA
BECMG 0204 23040KT
TEMPO 0306 23050G80KT 3000 SHRA
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Old 29th Aug 2004, 06:08
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Kaptin -

I know what you are talking about......

My friends were in a similar situatiuon re a car accident. They are gaijin and were t-boned by nihonjin at an intersection in Yokosuka, same deal, the nihonjin ran a red light. My friends couldn't claim nothing, and the police said to them that it's was my friends fault, because they have an international drivers liscence, supposedly making them a more expeirienced / qualified driver and therefore should have been able to avoid this collision!!!

So the Japanese didn't have to pay them anything!

Makes you wonder!

Any way back to the topic, yes the laws are vastly different and unfortunatley if you are a foreigner in some cases can be much tougher / unfair.

However I'm not sure re aviation - as the above case was obvisouly not aviation related!
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Old 30th Aug 2004, 02:24
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Kap

Don't forget your Nor'westers and put a tuck in that mainsail.

METAR: RJFM 300000Z 13061G82KT 0500 R27/0200V0400N +SHRA FEW002 BKN005 BKN012 26/25 Q0974
TAF: RJFM 292100Z 300624 21030KT 3000 SHRA BR FEW015 SCT035 BKN100 TEMPO 0609 23035G45KT 1500 +SHRA BR BECMG 1214 26018KT 9999 NSW TEMPO 1215 26023G33KT
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Old 30th Aug 2004, 13:00
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Cool

And where does the fun end???

An Ozzie expat mate of mine was headed out today looking to avoid arrest (and wondering if he was REALLY paid enough) by doing battle with Typhoon #16's effects, which were as follows:-

Oita 14:00 local 30th Aug 2004

OITA (RJFO)
TAF
TAF RJFO 300300Z 301206 29020KT 8000 FEW010 BKN020 BKN050
TEMPO1215 29025G40KT BECMG 1517 26020KT
TEMPO 1721 26020G30KT

TAF
AMD RJFO 292300Z 300624 14040KT 8000 -SHRA FEW010 BKN025 BKN035 BECMG 0608 28030KT
TEMPO 0609 2000 +SHRA BR
TEMPO 0815 29030G45KT

METAR
RJFO 300500Z 13056G76KT 0800 R01/0200V0350N
++SHRA BR FEW005 SCT010 BKN020 26/18 Q0968

You're right, RF - Aussies (who haven't experienced life o/s) have got a lot to learn about "discrimination".
As they will tell you "It simply doesn't exist" - because NO foreigner can EVER be equal to a local.......................all pigs are equal - but SOME are more equal than others!!
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