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Tuesday, 28 November, 2000, 13:10 GMT
Fujimori's uncertain status
Mr Fujimori
Mr Fujimori has still to clarify intentions
By Tokyo correspondent Charles Scanlon

Confusion continues to surround the status of the former Peruvian President, Alberto Fujimori, who remains in Japan more than a week after he was removed from office.

Some government officials have said he has the right to Japanese citizenship, but that has yet to be confirmed.

writer Ayako Sono
Mr Fujimori has been staying with writer Ayako Sono
Mr Fujimori meanwhile is staying at the home of a Japanese novelist near Tokyo.

When he arrived in Japan eleven days ago, Mr Fujimori was granted a diplomatic visa, valid for one year.

But his official status changed when he was removed from office by the Peruvian Congress last week, and the terms of his stay in Japan have become unclear.

Citizenship

Some Japanese officials have said they believe Mr Fujimori has the right to Japanese citizenship because both his parents were from Japan and they registered his birth at the Japanese embassy in Peru.

But the Foreign Minister, Yohei Kono, said he was unable to confirm Mr Fujimori's right to citizenship and said the final decision lay with the justice ministry, which is refusing to comment.

Mr Fujimori meanwhile is showing no sign of wanting to leave Japan.

He moved last week from a hotel in Tokyo to the home of a popular novelist, Ayako Sono, who describes herself as an acquaintance of the former president.

Divided public

In a series of interviews, Mr Fujimori has talked about a possible return to Peru in the longer term, and even re-entering politics.

But for the time being, he's refused to say how long he intends to remain in Japan or whether he will apply for citizenship.

The Japanese public remains divided over what should be done with him.

Some say he should go back to Peru to explain himself to the Peruvian people, but others believe he should be allowed to remain because of his Japanese ancestry.

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28 Nov 00 | Americas
Peru's new PM sworn in
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