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Why this Swiss politician spent most of his Japan holiday in jail

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Why this Swiss politician spent most of his Japan holiday in jail
Frédéric Brantschen says he hopes the incident doesn't distract from his work in politics. Photo: Canton of Valais
12:53 CEST+02:00
Frédéric Brantschen spent most of his vacation in Japan in a prison cell after he confused a karaoke bar with his hotel.

“I had had a couple of drinks and wanted to check in at my hotel,” Brantschen, a regional politician with Switzerland's Christian Democrats (CVP) told Swiss news portal 20 minutes of the incident back in January.

However, the politician from the canton of Valais didn't realise that he had accidentally entered a karaoke bar next to his hotel as the two receptions areas looked very similar.

Read also: Swiss police arrest man in Deadpool costume

“When I asked for my room, the receptionist looked at me strangely,” Brantschen explained.

He said he believed the staff member was denying him access to his room and a scuffle broke out.

The politician states he wasn't drunk but overtired and facing a serious language barrier. “Being a small-town guy from Valais I quickly lost my nerves,” Brantschen said, adding he had experienced problems with his hotel room earlier in his stay.

The 30-year-old was taken to a prison cell where he spent two weeks. No lawyer appeared and he says that while he was treated with the utmost respect, no one spoke English, German or French.

The Swiss embassy finally stepped in and Brantschen was able to transfer funds to the karaoke bar receptionist whose mobile phone had been damaged during their scuffle. He was also made to pay compensation for damage to the bar's business.

But Brantschen was then released without charges or a travel ban.

The politician said the incident was “out of character” and that he was disappointed it would distract attention from his work in ensuring the future of young people in rural and remote areas of Valais.

He also said he would stay in an international hotel if he ever visited Japan again.

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