Dissident from China denied entry to Japan allowed medical treatment

Justice Ministry of Japan let Chinese Wei Jingsheng temporarily leave Tokyo’s international airport for medical treatment. Few days before he was denied entry into Japan and wound up staying at the airport hotel.

Wei had arrived at Narita International Airport near Tokyo from New York on Saturday. But immigration officials had barred him from entering Japan, because he told them he was scheduled to attend a political rally - a purpose not covered by an airline-arranged 72-hour transit tourist permit - said Justice Ministry official Hisayoshi Kimura.

Kimura said Wei did not break any Japanese law, and was not being detained. However, Wei has no choice but stay inside an airport hotel until the airline can book him on a flight out of Japan, Kimura said.

No deadline has been set for his departure, but "the sooner the better," Kimura said.

He said, however, that the ministry let Wei temporarily leave the airport complex "out of humanitarian considerations for a justifiable reason." He declined to give details, including the purpose and duration of his outing, citing privacy concerns.

Kyodo News agency said Wei was to visit a Tokyo hospital for diabetes treatment.

Wei had been scheduled to give a speech last Sunday at a Tokyo meeting marking the 18th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing, Kyodo said.

Wei apparently voluntarily passed up a planned trip to the U.S. territory of Guam on Tuesday, and decided to stay in Japan for unspecified reasons, Kimura said.

Wei, a former electrician, spent a total of 17 years in prison in China for urging reforms of its Communist system. He went into exile in the U.S. in 1997.