Elderly traveler dumped 100 rounds of live ammo in Haneda international terminal.
On July 4, it’s natural for Americans to feel acutely aware of their national heritage, no matter which part of the world they happen to be in at the time. For example, while I haven’t been in the States on Independence Day for many years, I always notice when it’s coming up on the calendar, and try to celebrate in an appropriate manner (usually by eating a lot of meat).
However, on any day of the year, it’s important to observe local laws and regulations. Unfortunately, one American woman who arrived in Japan on July 4 failed to do that.
The woman, who is in her 60s and whose name has not been released, landed at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport on July 4 along with her husband. The couple went through immigration before making their way to the departure lobby to kill time before their connecting flight to their ultimate destination in Southeast Asia, which was scheduled to leave later that evening.
At around 3:50 p.m., though, workers at Haneda discovered 100 rounds of .22 caliber handgun ammunition in a trash can. Upon analysis of security camera footage by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police, the bullets were traced back to the woman. When questioned, she admitted that she had placed the ammunition in the trash can, going on to explain that she had unknowingly brought the bullets from America, having forgotten to remove them from her bag and not noticing them until after arriving in Japan.
The woman has been placed under arrest for a suspected violation of Japan’s Swords and Firearms Control Law, though no formal announcement has been made of the authorities moving forward with prosecution. The police are also launching an investigation into how the contraband slipped by immigration and customs officials.
Honest mistake on the woman’s part or not, throwing live ammunition into a trash can is never a wise decision, especially in Japan where firearm ownership is tightly regulated and trash is commonly disposed of by burning. So let this be a reminder that your to-do list before going to the airport should include not only charging your smartphone and grabbing your passport, but also making sure you haven’t inadvertently packed any massive supplies of bullets.