Japan should stop meddling in Fujimori case, Peru says

Japan has no business meddling in Peru's attempt to extradite ex-President Alberto Fujimori from Chile, a Peruvian Embassy official said Friday as Lima moved to withdraw its ambassador in protest. Japan has taken an avid interest in the case since Fujimori, a Japanese national, was detained earlier this week in Chile amid attempts by Lima to win his handover on charges related to his 10-year rule in Peru.

Japanese officials have met with Fujimori in Santiago to inquire about his health and inspect the conditions of his detention, but Jacques Bartra, the Peruvian Embassy minister in Tokyo, said Japan should not interfere in the case.

"The Japanese government has no jurisdiction to intervene in the extradition process that Peru is pursuing," Bartra said. "Any intervention by the Japanese government ... would constitute unacceptable interference."

Japan sheltered Fujimori, the son of Japanese immigrants, for five years following the fall of his authoritarian government in 2000, granting him citizenship and ignoring a call by Interpol for his arrest on criminal charges.

The ex-leader, however, made a surprise departure from Japan and arrived this week in Chile, apparently as part of efforts to return to Peru and run for president. He was detained pending a Peruvian extradition request.

Peru announced on Thursday that it was withdrawing its ambassador to Tokyo, Luis Macchiavello. Bartra said that the Japanese ambassador to Peru, Hitohiro Ishida, was informed that Lima was protesting Japan's failure to respond to extradition requests.

Peruvian officials also told Ishida that Lima was disappointed Tokyo had not informed Peru of Fujimori's movements, and that Japan had no right to intervene in the case since Fujimori entered Chile with a Peruvian passport, Bartra said.

"This is a question that only pertains to Peru and Chile," Bartra said. He added that no date had been set for Macchiavello's return to Peru.

Japanese officials in Tokyo, however, said they had not been officially informed of Macchiavello's withdrawal. Foreign Minister Taro Aso even suggested it might have been a regularly scheduled end of term, telling reporters that the withdrawal didn't have anything to do with Fujimori, Kyodo News agency said, reports the AP. I.L.

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