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Thursday, November 10, 2005

BBC NEWS | Americas | Japanese officials visit Fujimori

BBC NEWS | Americas | Japanese officials visit Fujimori Japanese officials visit Fujimori
Japanese diplomats have visited Peru's ex-President, Alberto Fujimori, in Chile, where he is in custody while Peru seeks his extradition.

The delegation checked the health of Mr Fujimori, who holds both Japanese and Peruvian nationalities.

He was detained on Monday shortly after reaching Chile from self-imposed exile in Japan.

Mr Fujimori, 67, is wanted in Peru on charges of corruption and human rights abuse, but denies any wrongdoing.

Tokyo has vowed to defend the rights of Mr Fujimori and has called on the Chilean government to treat him fairly.

Mr Fujimori told the officials from the Japanese embassy that he was in "good health" and "satisfied" with his treatment, according to Japan's foreign ministry.

However, some media reports suggested that he expressed concerns about the safety of his family, who accompanied him to Chile.

Suspension

Earlier, Chilean President Ricardo Lagos criticised what he said was Japan's failure to notify his government that Mr Fujimori was travelling to Santiago.

But Japanese officials say they had not been aware of the flight to Chile.

Two Chilean police officers have been suspended from their duties at Santiago airport for allowing Mr Fujimori into Chile ignoring that there was an international arrest warrant against him.

Protesters have been demanding Mr Fujimori's extradition to Peru

The ex-president reportedly entered the country showing his Peruvian, not his Japanese passport.

Meanwhile, the government in Peru described Japan's intervention in the case as an "intromission" that could complicate Mr Fujimori's extradition process.

Mr Fujimori - whose parents were originally from Japan - received Japanese citizenship after fleeing Peru in 2000.

Tokyo has repeatedly turned down requests from Lima for his extradition.

On Tuesday, Chilean Supreme Court judge Orlando Alvarez denied bail to Mr Fujimori saying that his ruling was definitive. But the ex-President's lawyers immediately filed an appeal.

A high-level Peruvian delegation is in Santiago for extradition talks. But Chile says the request will have to run its course through the courts.

Mr Fujimori, who was president from 1990 to 2000, faces a long jail sentence if sent back to Peru.

He has vowed to run for the Peruvian presidency next April despite being barred from holding public office until 2010.

'Moving closer'

Mr Fujimori's arrival in Santiago was a surprise for both the Chilean and Peruvian governments.

He had so far preferred to conduct his unofficial electoral campaign from Japan, where he has been living in self-imposed exile.

Correspondents say he chose Chile carefully when he decided to move closer to Peru ahead of next year's presidential elections.

The Chilean judicial system - considered one of the most independent in the region - has rejected extradition requests in the past.
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