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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 June 2007, 10:59 GMT 11:59 UK
Fujimori 'to run' in Japan poll
Alberto Fujimori (2000)
Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori denies any wrongdoing
Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori says he will stand in next month's Senate elections in Japan.

Mr Fujimori says he will run for the opposition People's New Party, a small conservative group formed in 2005.

The 68-year-old, who has Peruvian and Japanese citizenship, sought asylum in Japan after his government collapsed amid a scandal seven years ago.

He is currently under house arrest in Chile, facing extradition to Peru on human rights and corruption charges.

Speaking via telephone at a PNP press conference in Tokyo, Mr Fujimori said he was standing "to work on Asian diplomacy, North Korean issues and to ensure Japan's safety", the French news agency AFP said.

Many analysts, however, will see the decision as a cynical ploy to gain immunity from prosecution and avoid extradition to Peru, where he is wanted for crimes allegedly committed while he was president, says the BBC's Daniel Schweimler.

Embassy siege

Mr Fujimori, the son of Japanese emigres to Peru, was president of Peru from 1990-2000.

He was praised for reviving the country's collapsing economy and curbing political violence. But critics accuse him of crushing Peru's democratic institutions and committing human rights abuses.

In 2000 he became engulfed in a bribery scandal and fled to Japan, where he had been praised for his handling of the 1996-97 Japanese embassy hostage crisis.

Japan repeatedly refused efforts by the Peruvian government to extradite him on charges that included directing death squads, illegal phone tapping and corruption - charges Mr Fujimori denies.

But in November 2005 he returned to Chile, hoping to launch a new bid for the Peruvian presidency in 2006 elections, only to be arrested on request of the Peruvian authorities.

A Chilean court is considering a Peruvian request for his extradition and Chilean legal experts say Mr Fujimori's possible candidacy will not affect the final deportation ruling.

PNP head Shizuka Kamei said that Mr Fujimori's candidacy would "add vigour to today's Japanese society, which lacks courage, confidence and benevolence".

Government spokesman Yasuhisa Shiozaki, meanwhile, described it as "strictly the issue within the framework of political parties".

But a Peruvian congressman accused Mr Fujimori of trying to avoid justice.

"The judicial process must continue," said Juan Carlos Eguren of the National Unity party, "and we think that the extradition process will end with a ruling forcing Fujimori to return to Peru."

The Japanese Senate elections will take place on 29 July.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Protesters calling for Alberto Fujimori's extradition to Peru



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New arrest warrant for Fujimori
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Conditional release for Fujimori
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Peru seeks Fujimori extradition
03 Jan 06 |  Americas
Profile: Alberto Fujimori
03 Jan 06 |  Americas

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