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Japanese politician banned after wearing wrestling mask to council meetings

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'Skull Reaper A-ji' hears the decision to refuse his attendance. (Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)

'Skull Reaper A-ji' hears the decision to refuse his attendance. (Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)

A Japanese wrestler-turned-politician has been banned from city council meetings after refusing to remove his Lucha Libre-style wrestling mask.

The UK's Daily Telegraph reports that Skull Reaper A-ji, a member of the Oita city council in southern Japan, was told that wearing a full face mask was not befitting a member of the council. In other words, remove the mask, or else.

Skull Reaper A-ji, elected in February, refused to take it off. He told the Nishinippon Shimbun newspaper that people find him easier to approach and talk to if he's wearing his trademark mask.

He explained this to the council and also mentioned the charity work he has done to help people with disabilities. Council members were apparently unmoved. They cited a rule that states that "a person taking the floor shall not wear items such as a hat," according to the Telegraph. Skull Reaper A-ji was then removed from the meeting.

The council may have won that round, but the battle wages on. Skull Reaper A-ji told the Nikkan Sports paper that he will not take off his mask. "If I take off my mask," he said, "I'm an entirely different person."

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