Japan has announced that former chess champion Bobby Fischer can only be deported to the US and not to Iceland, as he had demanded.
Iceland has offered Mr Fischer a passport and residence rights
People were deported to their home countries as a matter of principle, a Japanese official said.
The chess player has already been detained for eight months near Tokyo.
He is wanted in the US for playing a game in Yugoslavia in 1992, in spite of an international blockade imposed on the country over the Balkan wars.
He faces a 10-year jail term in the US if found guilty of defying the economic sanctions.
The 62-year-old is asking to be allowed to go to Iceland, a country that has granted him a special passport for foreigners in memory of a 1972 landmark game played in the capital, Reykjavik.
Japanese opposition politicians, who claim the government is acting at the behest of the US, have protested against Mr Fischer's lengthy detention.
But Japan's chief immigration official, Masaharu Miura, said his case was no exception.
"The fundamental principle is that the destination of deportation is the country of the person's nationality," he said.
And Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura denied receiving an extradition request for Mr Fischer from the US authorities.
"I do not think the justice ministry is applying the law with special consideration to the American side," he said.
Mr Fischer has been on the run from the US authorities for more than a decade.
Before his detention, he had managed to live undetected in Japan for three years, sometimes travelling abroad.
Mr Fischer became a chess grandmaster at 15, and shot to fame in 1972 when he beat Boris Spassky of the then Soviet Union.
While in detention, he has become engaged to the head of the Japan Chess Association, Miyoko Watai, but the authorities are still studying their marriage application.