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Last Updated:  Monday, 3 March, 2003, 09:13 GMT
Britney fan 'not a stalker'
Britney Spears
Britney Spears has had a difficult year
A man accused of stalking Britney Spears is just a misunderstood and "avid" fan, his lawyer has told a court.

The American pop singer is seeking a restraining order at the Los Angeles Superior Court against Masahiko Shizawa, 41, of Yokohama, Japan.

Spears, 21, claims Mr Shizawa sent her hundreds of love letters and photographs, and followed her to her homes in Louisiana and Hollywood.

But his lawyer Simon Hiller said his client, a computer programmer and inventor, was harmless and the confusion arose from a cultural misunderstanding.

Mr Hiller said: "He's not a stalker, he's an avid fan."


Mr Shizawa is in negotiations with Spears to resolve the matter privately without a full court case, the lawyer added.

If the case is not resolved by 18 April, there will be a full hearing with evidence from both sides.

Spears is seeking a restraining order that would ban Mr Shizawa from coming within 1,000 yards (910 metres) of her.

She claims he wrote "I'm chasing you" on one of the photos.

Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake
Spears and Timberlake split last year
The singer is also seeking legal fees and court costs.

Her lawyer Joel Strote refused to comment on the hearing.

Mr Shizawa has returned to Japan but wants to settle the dispute so he can eventually come back to the United States.

Spears has had a troubled personal life in the past year, seeing her relationship with N'Sync star Justin Timberlake end and her parents separating.

She is taking a short break from music, but her debut movie performance in Crossroads suffered at the hands of film critics.

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