Tokyo, Oct 17: Japan has barred all Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones from airplanes, mirroring moves by US regulators and a string of carriers that banned the recalled devices over fire risk concerns. The weekend announcement from Japan’s transport ministry follows an earlier warning that asked airlines to urge passengers not to turn on or charge the smartphones on aircraft. But aviation authorities went a step further on Saturday, ordering airlines to ban the devices completely, a transport ministry official said. The South Korean electronics giant has recalled all Note 7 phones, including replacements, following reports of exploding batteries and fires, which have led to numerous injuries.
Samsung has also stopped producing the flagship handset. Japan’s move came after US transport authorities on Friday issued an emergency order banning the phones and saying anyone attempting to travel with the recalled handsets may face fines and have the devices confiscated. It was not immediately clear what sort of penalties passengers on All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines — the country’s biggest carriers — could face if they were found with the phone. JAL spokesman Takuya Shimoguchi said customers could choose to board planes without their Note 7 phone or the airline would confiscate it. But “there have been no clear instructions on punitive measures”, he added.