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Japan: Fujimori To Be Treated As Japanese Citizen - 2001-08-03

The Japanese government is refusing to hand over the exiled former Peruvian president, Alberto Fujimori, after a Lima judge issued an international warrant for his arrest Thursday.

A Japanese Foreign Ministry official says Tokyo's position is clear: It has no plans to surrender former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori.

The Foreign Ministry says the international arrest warrant issued in Lima Thursday changes nothing, and the Japanese government has not received any formal requests for action from Peruvian authorities.

The official noted that Japan and Peru have no formal extradition treaty; so, Mr. Fujimori will be treated as a Japanese citizen under Japanese law.

Mr. Fujimori fled to Japan in November, amid mounting corruption scandals involving his former intelligence chief, Vladimiro Montesinos.

On Thursday, a senior judge in Peru issued an international warrant for the former president, declaring him an absent criminal, who abandoned office and has not answered charges of dereliction of duty.

Mr. Fujimori is also under investigation for allegedly approving millions of dollars in arms deals, and for his possible links to a paramilitary death squad.

Peruvian authorities are also looking into allegations made by his ex-wife, who claimed Mr. Fujimori skimmed off millions of dollars in donations from Japan destined for a children's fund in Peru.

The status of the former Peruvian president has become a diplomatic problem for Tokyo, which earlier this year granted citizenship to Mr. Fujimori, whose parents are Japanese.

Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo, who was inaugurated a week ago, has vowed to bring his predecessor to court. Lima has been seeking Mr. Fujimori's extradition from Japan. Under Peruvian law, a suspect cannot be convicted in absentia.

Mr. Fujimori says he has no plans to return to Peru.