1253 GMT February 23, 2019
The woman, believed to be in her 30s, told Delta Air Lines crew during the flight that she had mistakenly brought the handgun and ammunition with her onto the plane, despite passing through security inspection at the southern US airport, the sources said, japantoday.com reported.
The cabin crew took the handgun from the woman until the plane's arrival on the afternoon of January 3, the sources said, adding that she apparently owned it for self-protection.
The woman returned to the US the same day she arrived, they said.
The case follows an earlier one at Narita in which an American copilot was found to be in possession of live bullets during a security inspection before departing the Japanese airport on December 14, the sources said.
The American Airlines pilot, who said the bullets were in his luggage by mistake, left the ammunition with airport staff and worked as scheduled, they said.
Describing both cases as ‘serious incidents’, the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism asked US transportation security authorities on January 4 to take necessary preventive measures.
The Japanese ministry made similar requests following a series of incidents in 2017 in which live bullets were brought onto planes from the US arriving at Narita and Haneda airports.
As Japan steps up security for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, airport officials have said it is also important to make sure that inspections of incoming passengers at overseas airports be strengthened.