Sunday, November 13, 2005

Fujimori becomes a Japanese or a Peruvian as the situation suits him...

Having followed the Alberto Fujmori saga from the time he became president of Peru, I cannot help but draw parallels to ethnic Japanese on the West Coast prior to WW2.

Of course the Japanese-American reparations movement constantly reminds the American people (at taxpayer expense) that ethnic Japanese colonies in Hawaii and on the West Coast were as red blooded American as any that had arrived in North America prior to the American Revolution. The history is more complex than that.

As you may know, Fujimori is a nisei from Peru who became that country's first ethnic Japanese president (any country's for that matter)and then fled to Japan after accusations of corruption and murder were charged against him. Fujimori received Japanese citizenship because his parents were issei in Peru.

Over 60 years after the end of Word War 2, it is hard to believe ethnic Japanese are still playing the dual citizenship card when it suits them.

If the controversy is arising in 2005, you can imagine what circumstances must have been like for America's political and military leaders immediately after Pear Harbor.

A Peruvian government official made the following statement in today's Daily Asahi, "Fujimori becomes a Japanese or a Peruvian as the situation suits him."

Here's how the United States Supreme Court dealt with another ethnic Japanese born in America, Tom Kawakita, who used the dual citizenship ploy in an attempt to escape justice for war crimes....

"One who wants that freedom can get it by renouncing his American citizenship. He cannot turn it into a fair-weather citizenship, retaining it for the possible contingent benefits but meanwhile playing the part of the traitor."

Here's the Asahi article:

Peru pulls Japan envoy in protest

The Asahi Shimbun

Accusing Tokyo of interfering in its attempts to extradite former President Alberto Fujimori from Chile, Peru on Thursday recalled its ambassador to Japan.

The move followed a meeting Wednesday in Santiago, Chile, between Japanese Embassy officials based there and Fujimori.

Fujimori, who also holds Japanese citizenship, has been in police custody since his unexpected arrival from Japan on Sunday.

In a statement, Peru's Foreign Ministry said officials had spoken to Japanese Ambassador Hitohiro Ishida and confirmed that embassy officials in Chile had met with Fujimori. In light of this, the statement said the government had decided to end the mission in Japan of Ambassador Luis Macchiavello.

Officials at the Japanese Embassy in Lima said, however, that Ishida had spoken with Peruvian Foreign Ministry officials on Tuesday prior to the meeting between embassy officials and Fujimori.

Foreign Ministry officials in Tokyo were clearly eager to head off a diplomatic confrontation and charges of interference. They said the embassy officials met with Fujimori purely to check on his health and into the conditions of his detention.

"It will not be to our advantage to have others think that we are trying to protect Fujimori," said one Foreign Ministry official.

High-ranking ministry officials explained that they were treating Fujimori like any other Japanese national detained overseas.

Ministry officials admitted there was little they could do because actively working on Fujimori's behalf could be construed as interfering in the domestic politics of Peru.

Fujimori had lived in self-exile in Japan after fleeing Peru in 2000 when a huge graft scandal caused his government to collapse.

Officials in both Peru and Chile have already called on Japan not to interfere in the matter.

Prior to Fujimori's departure from Japan, Lima had twice asked Japan to extradite him to face charges of corruption and of authorizing death squads during his 1990-2000 rule.

Japan did not comply with those requests on grounds that no extradition treaty exists between the two countries.

Foreign Minister Taro Aso tried to downplay any connection between the meeting by embassy officials in Chile and the recall of Peru's ambassador to Japan.

Ministry officials explained that the meeting by embassy officials in Santiago was common practice for any Japanese national detained overseas.

However, because Fujimori had the support of influential politicians and celebrities in Japan, Foreign Ministry officials felt they had to demonstrate they were doing everything possible as he holds Japanese citizenship.

A Peruvian newspaper reported meantime that Fujimori used his Japanese passport to enter Mexico in a chartered jet on his way to Chile.

The newspaper La Republica reported that Mexican immigration officials in Tijuana recognized Fujimori but allowed him to come and go as he planned only a transit stop.

When Fujimori landed in Santiago, he showed his Peruvian passport, the newspaper said.

The Peruvian government has criticized Fujimori in the past for his use of his two passports.

In September, when Fujimori obtained a new Peruvian passport, a government official in Lima said, "Fujimori becomes a Japanese or a Peruvian as the situation suits him."(IHT/Asahi: November 12,2005)


At November 30, 2005 10:15 AM, Blogger Taylor Kirk said...

Our debate this week is about whether the Peruvian Congress should change it's decree and allow Fujimori to run. I'd love to hear your comments.

(The Latin Americanist)


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