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Japan Asks Chile to Treat Former Peruvian President Fujimori Fairly

Japan is calling on Chile to treat fairly former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori, who is a Japanese citizen, following his arrest in Santiago Monday.

Japanese government officials said Tuesday they had no prior indication Alberto Fujimori was leaving Japan and were even more surprised to hear he had gone to Chile, where he was arrested.

Mr. Fujimori fled Peru five years ago and the successor government in Lima has indicted him on more than 20 criminal charges. Japan has declined to act on requests from Peru to extradite him, despite an Interpol arrest notice.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Akira Chiba says the former Peruvian president, who was granted Japanese citizenship after he began his self-imposed exile, could receive a visit from a Japanese consular representative.

"We're trying to do basically what we do whenever a Japanese citizen is detained abroad," he explained. "That is to say we're asking, in this case, the Chilean government his status, why he was detained and, after that, we will try to establish what we can do and what is necessary, at this point, to do."

Fujimori, who is 67, has made no secret in recent months of his wish to run again next year for president of Peru, despite being banned by the country's Congress from holding public office again until the year 2011.

Mr. Fujimori, whose Japanese parents immigrated to Peru, resigned as president during a state visit to Japan in 2000, faxing his resignation letter to Lima.

Chile arrested Mr. Fujimori after receiving a detention request from the Peruvian authorities and is now considering their extradition request.

If extradited, Mr. Fujimori would face charges in Peru, which include sanctioning hit squads to assassinate government opponents, abuse of power and misuse of public funds.