Japan reluctant to request Fujimori’s release


Tokyo : Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso said Thursday that he saw difficulties in asking the Chilean government to allow former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori to return to Japan to take part in the campaign for July 29 parliamentary elections, media reports said.

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Fujimori, who is under house arrest in Chile, is considered to only be "travelling" there as a Japanese citizen, according to Shizuka Kamei, an acting head of the People's New Party, who invited Fujimori to run as one of the party's candidates for the House of Councillors, Japan's upper house.

Fujimori, 68, a Peruvian of Japanese descent who holds dual citizenship, is wanted in Peru on human-rights abuses, murder and corruption during his 1990-2000 term in office.

He fled to Japan to escape a corruption scandal that included bribes to legislators and faxed his resignation as president from Japan.

Kamei said Thursday that he asked Aso to help get permission from Chile to bring Fujimori back to Japan.

Aso, however, expressed reluctance in requesting the release because Chile's Supreme Court is considering whether to extradite Fujimori to Peru.

Japan's election law does not bar a person who is held under house arrest overseas from running in an election.

Meanwhile, Peruvian President Alan Garcia Perez has cancelled a visit to Japan in the fall, the Kyodo News Agency said.

There was no connection between the cancelled trip and Fujimori's participation in Japanese politics but the two nations simply failed to agree on the travel schedule, Peruvian Foreign Relations Minister Jose Antonio Garcia Belaunde was quoted as saying.

Garcia is known for his efforts to improve relations with Japan, which were damaged after Tokyo refused to hand over Fujimori.