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The BBC's Charles Scanlon in Tokyo
"He is seeking refuge from his enemies in Peru"
 real 56k

Tuesday, 12 December, 2000, 12:24 GMT
Fujimori secures Japanese haven
Anti Fujimori protests
Protesters in Peru are demanding Mr Fujimori return
The Japanese Government has ruled that the disgraced former Peruvian president, Alberto Fujimori, holds Japanese nationality - so he cannot be extradited back to Peru.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda confirmed the decision at a regular news conference.

Mr Fujimori
Mr Fujimori's ancestors come from southern Japan
Asked what Japan would do if Peru sought Mr Fujimori's extradition, Mr Fukuda said: "I believe the government will deal with the issue in accordance with Japan's domestic law."

The announcement raises the prospect of a diplomatic row, as Japanese law does not allow the extradition of Japanese nationals.

Peruvian legislators reacted angrily to the news and some said they felt betrayed by Japan.

Congresswoman Ana Elena Townsend said the Japanese government should not play into Mr Fujimori's hands by helping him avoid an investigation into his dealings.

Slush fund probe

Mr Fujimori, the son of Japanese emigrants to Peru, is the subject of a congressional investigation there into the activities of his former intelligence chief, Vladimiro Montesinos.

Investigators in Lima have said they will make all possible efforts to force Mr Fujimori to face questioning over alleged slush funds controlled by Mr Montesinos.

But Mr Fujimori has repeatedly ruled out returning to Peru, saying he does not believe he would receive a fair hearing from political opponents.

Correspondents say the Japanese decision will infuriate Peruvians, and raise question marks over the legitimacy of Mr Fujimori's entire 10-year presidency.


As a Japanese citizen, Mr Fujimori would not have been eligible to stand for the office despite having been born in Peru, and having grown up there.

According to the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper, the government had agreed on three facts confirming Mr Fujimori's citizenship.

  • His ancestors were registered in Kumamoto prefecture on Kyushu island, southern Japan

  • He had taken no steps to renounce his Japanese nationality

  • Peruvian law had allowed his parents to retain their Japanese citizenship

"The government has confirmed his Japanese citizenship after probing several points," the report added.

Vladimiro Montesinos
Montesinos: Investigated by Congress
"Therefore, Fujimori will be able to stay without any conditions, and Japan will refuse any extradition request from Peru."

Mr Fujimori arrived in Japan more than three weeks ago, amid growing political tension in Peru.

Days later he sent a letter of resignation to the Peruvian Congress, which rejected it and then dismissed him on the grounds of being morally unfit.

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See also:

12 Dec 00 | Americas
Analysis: Peru's Japanese president
28 Nov 00 | Asia-Pacific
Fujimori's uncertain status
20 Nov 00 | Media reports
Peru press turns on Fujimori
18 Nov 00 | Americas
Montesinos accused of new crimes
22 Nov 00 | Americas
Q & A: What next for Peru?
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