De Cuellar: Japan should Urge Fujimori to Go Home
Japan should persuade ousted Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori to return home and face questioning over corruption under his rule, Peruvian Prime Minister Javier Perez de Cuellar has said.
The former UN secretary general acknowledged that extradition was not an option after Japan declared this month that Fujimori, the son of Japanese immigrants, was a Japanese national.
"It is not likely that the Japanese government will grant Peru's request to hand over the former president," de Cuellar told Monday's Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper in an interview.
"The Peruvian government wants to start talks with Japan over the establishment of an extradition treaty, but it will take considerable time to conclude a treaty," he said.
"I would like the Japanese government to urge the former president to voluntarily return to Peru."
Fujimori has been in Tokyo since November 17. He stopped here after an Asia-Pacific summit in Brunei and offered his resignation to Peru's Congress, but it chose instead to sack him.
Anti-Japan sentiment in Peru has intensified following the Japanese government announcement of Fujimori's nationality on December 12, which cleared the way for the ousted leader to stay indefinitely.
The announcement sparked dismay in Peru, where Fujimori is wanted for questioning by a congressional commission investigating allegations of massive corruption by his fugitive former intelligence chief, Vladimiro Montesinos.
But the Fujimori row would not derail relations between Japan and Peru, de Cuellar said.
"We will consider the issue of extradition and the issue of maintaining friendly ties with Japan completely separately," he told the Yomiuri Shimbun.
Fujimori, 62, attended Christmas Eve mass at a Tokyo Catholic church and told reporters he was working on his memoirs, Kyodo News agency said.
"I prayed for the happiness and peace of my mother, children and all Peruvians," it quoted him as saying.
The former president, who served for 10 years, has indicated his willingness to reveal information about Montesinos from the relative safety of Tokyo but has denied the corruption allegations.
Montesinos is wanted in Peru on charges of blackmail, extortion, money laundering and drug trafficking. Swiss bank authorities have frozen Montesinos' accounts, worth around 70 million dollars.
Fujimori's assertion that he discovered the powerful Montesinos' criminal activities too late was surprising, de Cuellar said.
"The two are conspirators in the illegal fund activities," he said.
Fujimori's daughter, however, insisted that her father was in the dark about Montesinos until a leaked videotape was broadcast on September 14 showing the intelligence chief bribing an opposition congressman to join the president's ranks.
Keiko Sofia Fujimori, who acted as Peruvian first lady from shortly before her parents' divorce in 1995, said in a separate Yomiuri Shimbun interview: "My father first became aware of what kind of person Mr Montesinos was after the videotape was made public."
Keiko added that she had received warnings about her safety.
"I am determined, however, to remain in Peru to uphold the honor of the Fujimori family," she said, while declining to reveal her father's intentions -- TOKYO (AFP)
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