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Home > Media Reviews > News Review Last Updated: 14:54 03/09/2007
News Review #321: November 10, 2005

Japan Wants Notified of Fujimori's Condition

Reviewed by Hitoshi URABE

Japan Wants Notified of Fujimori's Condition
China View (Xinhuanet)


Multi-citizenship is not uncommon in international perspective. There are many in Europe who are citizens of two or more countries due mainly to historical reasons, and in Latin America there has been tradition of being lenient toward such matters. For the individuals, it is usually convenient to have multi-nationality as he could present himself as a citizen of a country advantageous to him in various occasions.

Alberto Ken'ya Fujimori was born on July 28, 1938 in the suburbs of Lima, Peru, which automatically provided him with a Peruvian citizenship. His parents were immigrants and still retained Japanese citizenship, so they registered him, in accordance with Japan's nationality law, at the Japanese Consulate there, for Alberto, too, to acquire Japanese citizenship.

His life since had not required him to present himself to be a Japanese. In fact, he became the President of Peru in 1990, the position only a Peruvian could occupy. Then in 2000, President Fujimori, during his unofficial visit to Japan, sent his resignation to the Peruvian government by fax.

That was when he probably for the first time claimed to be a Japanese citizen, and filed a petition to confirm his citizenship to the Japanese government. The authorities spent a month to analyze his claim, and admitted his Japanese citizenship upon finding the old document in the archives of the regional government where his parents used to live before leaving for Peru, transferred from the Japanese Consulate in Lima more than sixty years ago registering him as a Japanese citizen.

Actually, Japan's nationality law is considered to be relatively strict in admitting anyone's citizenship. More precisely, a huge discretional power is entrusted to the Justice Minister, and the rules have been applied in a "conservative and defensive" manner. The judgment is made based not only on documents, but the individual's intentions and how they are demonstrated.

A good example is the case of Mr Fujimori's brother-in-law Mr Aritomi. As his name implies, he, too, is a son of Japanese parents. He was assigned as the Peruvian Ambassador to Japan, and while being in office in Tokyo, he asked the Japanese authorities to confirm his Japanese citizenship. But the authorities refused it. As it is a sole discretion of the Minister in charge to accept or deny such petition, no explanation was provided formally. It was assumed, however, that the authorities decided that being an Ambassador of a foreign country infringes upon certain stipulation in the nationality law which requires the person "do not enforce the rights of being a citizen other than Japan." Being the ambassador of Peru was considered executing, and that vividly, the rights of being a citizen other than Japan. In fact, later when Mr Aritomi resigned from Ambassadorship and applied again, Japanese citizenship was acknowledged by the authorities.

This raises an interesting question. If Mr Fujimori intends to run for presidency in Peru (whatever the outcome may be), which is an act allowed only for Peruvians, will he still be able to claim Japanese citizenship? (More precisely, will the Japanese authorities acknowledge his citizenship?)

For the time being, however, it is the obligation of the government of Japan to protect the safety of its citizens, and Mr Fujimori is one of them.

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