Japanese man flies to Mexico, camps at airport

Fri Nov 28, 2008 2:28am EST
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TOKYO (Reuters Life!) - A Japanese man who flew into Mexico City's airport as a transit passenger 12 weeks ago is refusing to leave, but his reasons for staying remain a mystery and his government is taking a hands off approach.

Hiroshi Nohara, in his 40s and from Tokyo, has remained in the airport transit lounge since September 2. He has a valid visa to Mexico and a return ticket home but refuses to budge.

"I know I'm doing something weird," Nohara told Reuters Television in Mexico City this week.

"I don't know how long I'll be here. I have a visa until March, but I might leave sooner than that."

Nohara has become a sort of celebrity, with airport staff and other transit passengers plying him with free food and drink, as well as stopping to take his picture and autograph.

He has given several media interviews, with some local media speculating that Nohara came to Latin America in search of love, and that he was on his way to Brazil via Mexico City.

Mexican officials and the Japanese embassy have failed to persuade Nohara to leave, but they say they are unable to force him out of the country because he is not committing any crime.

"Mr. Hiroshi has decided by his own will to remain here at the airport. He spends his time walking around the fast-food area. He eats there and practically sleeps there. His stay is legal for the airport," said airport spokesman Victor Mejia.

A Japanese Foreign Ministry official in Tokyo also said there was little they could do for Nohara.   Continued...

<p>Hiroshi Nohara, 40, from Tokyo, drinks a cup of coffee at the international airport in Mexico City November 27, 2008. REUTERS/Henry Romero</p>