Most Lima residents believe Japan helped Fujimori travel to Chile, poll shows

An opinion poll released Sunday indicates that 76 percent of residents in the Peruvian capital Lima believe that former President Alberto Fujimori collaborated with the Japanese government when he defied an international arrest warrant Nov. 5 and traveled from Tokyo to Santiago, Chile.

Fifteen percent of those surveyed said that they did not believe that Japan helped the 67-year-old Fujimori travel to Chile, while nine percent did not respond, according to poll, conducted by the independent firm Apoyo for the Peruvian daily El Comercio.

In recent days high-ranking Peruvian officials have claimed that Japan is continuing to protect Fujimori, even though the former president entered Chile using a Peruvian passport. On Thursday, Peru announced that it was withdrawing its ambassador to Japan, a day after Japanese diplomats visited Fujimori at the police training academy where he has been held since he was detained in Santiago before dawn on Nov. 7.

Just 11 percent of interviewees said that Peruvian officials' efforts to extradite Fujimori from Japan were efficient. Japan did not respond to Peru's two extradition requests for Fujimori's return to the Andean nation citing Fujimori's Japanese citizenship, which shields him from extradition.

Fujimori fled Peru for Japan five years ago, when his administration, which governed Peru from 1990-2000, collapsed amid a massive corruption scandal.

Peru made its most recent extradition request last October when officials alleged the former president embezzled US$15 million (euro12.6 million) in state funds while in office.

Despite a law barring Fujimori from holding public office until 2011, 36 percent believe that he has a right to run in the April 2006 presidential elections, according to the poll.

Sixty-nine percent of those surveyed said that they thought Fujimori was guilty of illicit enrichment and human rights violations committed during his presidency.

The poll was based on 617 interviews in the 38 districts of metropolitan Lima between Nov. 10-11, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points, AP reported. V.A.

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