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Japanese tourist pleads guilty to hitting flight attendant


A 65-year-old man accused of slapping and punching a Delta Air Lines flight attendant on a flight from Narita to Honolulu pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault this morning in federal court and is scheduled to return to Japan this afternoon.

Sohei Yamanouchi, a Japanese citizen, was fined $2,500.

FBI agents arrested Yamanouchi at about 7:30 a.m. Monday following the arrival of Delta Flight 608. The incident took place in the business class section of the aircraft, the FBI said.

Yamanouchi was traveling to Hawaii to attend his son’s wedding at a Waikiki hotel, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Song said

He was released Monday on $10,000 bond — with a provision that he not be allowed to drink alcohol — and he attended the wedding Tuesday.

Yamanouchi hit the flight attendant once with an open hand and once with a closed fist after drinking four glasses of wine in business class during the flight, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court. A crew member also noted that Yamanouchi had a glass of champagne before the plane departed.

After the meal service, the flight attendant was speaking to a passenger sitting behind Yamanouchi about a media player that wasn’t working. He then rose from his seat and struck the flight attendant on her left shoulder with an open palm, then punched the same shoulder, shook his fist at her in a “threatening manner,” and told her to “shut up” in English, the complaint said.

He was escorted back to his seat and there were no other confrontations during the remainder of the flight.

Yamanouchi faced a maximum of six months in prison and a $10,000 fine.

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