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Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan Press Conference

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Press Conference by The Press Secretary of MOFA
11 November 2005

Detention of former President of the Republic of Peru Alberto
Fujimori in the Republic of Chile
Mr. Taniguchi: With regard to former President of the Republic of Peru Alberto Fujimori’s departure from Japan and detention following his entry into the Republic of Chile, I would like to explain the position of the Government of Japan and the measures we are taking.
This case is already undergoing judicial proceedings in Chile, and the basic position of the Government of Japan is that we watch the progress of the proceedings. Concurrently, in light of the fact that former President Fujimori holds Japanese nationality, we are taking the necessary and possible measures that would generally be taken when a Japanese national is detained overseas.
As for specific measures the Government of Japan has taken to date, on 7 November (Chile time), the Japanese Ambassador to Chile Hajime Ogawa informed Minister of Foreign Affairs Ignacio Walker of Chile that former President Fujimori holds Japanese nationality, and inquired about the facts regarding allegations of and charges for the detention, among other matters, and emphasized the importance of securing due process.
On 9 November (Chile time), the Japanese Embassy in Chile realized a consular visit to Mr. Fujimori. The counsellor and two secretaries of the Embassy visited Mr. Fujimori at the place where he is detained and confirmed that he is in good health condition and is satisfied with the treatment, including meals.
Even if there are some opinions from those who perceive that the Japanese Government intervened improperly in the judicial proceedings, the Japanese Government is having contacts with the Government of Chile according to the consular functions which are stipulated in the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and do not have any political intentions nor intentions to intervene in the judicial proceedings between Peru and Chile.

Questions concerning termination of the functions of the Peruvian Ambassador to Japan

Q: Can I ask what your understanding is of the situation with regard to the withdrawal of the Peruvian Ambassador to Japan?
Mr. Taniguchi: You just used the world “withdrawal.” There are a number of reports using verbs such as “recall,” “withdraw” or “pull him up.” The official announcement that the Peruvian Government made was that it was just terminating the functions of the Ambassador. That is what we understand, and the Japanese Government has been given no official correspondence as regards the termination of the functions of the Ambassador.
Q: So the Ambassador is staying in Peru right now?
Mr. Taniguchi: I understand that he is still in Japan, and we have heard nothing beyond that.
Q: As you just mentioned, there are a lot of verbs like “recall,” “withdraw” and “terminate.” You told us about the Peruvian statement. Could we have a more comprehensive statement, not three or four words?
Mr. Taniguchi: A comprehensive announcement about what if I may ask?
Q: About the official statement from the Peruvian minister.
Mr. Taniguchi: The Peruvian minister has made exactly the statement that I introduced, that he was to terminate the functions of the Ambassador. The Ambassador’s name is Luis Macchiavello. He has been in Japan for quite a while. His tour of duty has continued since February 2001, and the Peruvian Government has just announced that it would terminate the functions of the Ambassador. That is the official and most comprehensive announcement that we have heard so far.
Q: Why do you think the Peruvian Government terminated the functions of the Ambassador?
Mr. Taniguchi: As I said, there has been no official announcement, report, correspondence, whatever, from the Peruvian Government so I should refrain from making any speculations on that question.
Q: Have you tried to confirm?
Mr. Taniguchi: No we have not.
Q: May I ask why?
Mr. Taniguchi: It is normally the government that is going to terminate the functions of the ambassador that would be notifying the host nation. The Japanese Government has heard nothing about it so far from the Peruvian Government.
Q: It was not included in the official statement I believe, but Peruvian Foreign Ministry officials have been quoted as saying that this is a protest against the way Japan has handled the treatment of Mr. Fujimori. What would be Japan’s response to that?
Mr. Taniguchi: I cannot give you any response because we have heard nothing about it.
Q: The Peruvian Government says that they are protesting. I know you cannot respond to it, but would you say there was anything that the Japanese Government did wrong? Would you say there was something wrong on the Japanese side?
Mr. Taniguchi: No I do not think so. First and foremost, we have heard that there has been an allegation that the Japanese Government should have notified either the Governments of Chile or Peru about Mr. Fujimori’s departure from Japan. As I said yesterday in the Internet chat press conference, Mr. Fujimori has been under no surveillance or control of anyone. The Japanese Government has not chased him around, and therefore, it is an honest statement when we say that we did not know that Mr. Fujimori was intending to depart from Japan headed for Chile. In terms of the kind of allegations such as that, the fact is simple. We did not know about it, and therefore, we could not give any sort of advance notice to either government.
In terms of Japan-Peru relationship, that is also going very smoothly. In fact, I announced in the beginning the tragic death of Mr. Masashi Ito, the Second Secretary of the Japanese Embassy in Peru, and he was actually headed for the site of the construction place of a hydroelectric power plant, the construction of which was supported by Japan’s official development assistance (ODA). An opening ceremony for that hydroelectric power plant was scheduled for 10 November, and to this opening ceremony, President Alejandro Toledo of Peru actually showed up. That was telling that President Toledo regards the cooperative relationship between the two nations and the aid programs that the Japanese Government has been giving to that nation have been very much well-received and appreciated. It is the position of the Japanese Government that we maintain this good and friendly relationship with one another.
Q: In addition to the statement which you mentioned, I am sorry to repeat this again and again, but there are more statements in the news coverage than terminated the functions of the Peruvian Ambassador to Japan. I would again like to confirm; it has been said that any intervention by Tokyo in the extradition process under way with Chilean authorities for the extradition of Mr. Fujimori will constitute unacceptable interference.
Mr. Taniguchi: I know you wanted to confirm that, but please understand we cannot give you any confirmation because we have heard nothing about it.
Q: So you are insisting that only one line was stated by the Peruvian Government, that is, to terminate the functions of the ambassador?
Mr. Taniguchi: Yes, and in terms of intervention of any sort, the Japanese Government has done nothing. It is true we have made a visit to the place where Mr. Fujimori is under detention, but that is based on the well-established tradition reserved for consular officers and that is backed by the Vienna Convention.
Q: Normally speaking, if a country were to withdraw an ambassador from Japan, how would Japan expect to hear about that? By letter? By Fax? How would that normally be notified?
Mr. Taniguchi: There is an official document which is normally used in these occasions, and among the diplomatic circles, letters rather than just phone calls are normally the ways in which you can convey those sorts of messages to the other nation. We have received no letter as of yet.
Q: Did the Japanese Government respond to the statement?
Mr. Taniguchi: No, there is no need to.

Questions concerning statement by President Ricardo Lagos of the Republic of Chile

Q: I learned from other news reports that there was a claim made by President Ricardo Lagos of Chile. Could you tell us what kind of claim was made by the Chilean President?
Mr. Taniguchi: In regards to the statement made by the Chilean President in relation to Japan’s involvement in this case, there has been none.
Regarding the relationship between Japan and Chile, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ignacio Walker of Chile and Japanese Ambassador to Chile Hajime Ogawa held a joint a press conference on 10 November (Chile time) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Chile. On this occasion, both sides announced that the Joint Study Group on Japan-Chile Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)/Free Trade Agreement (FTA) has ended its work and that a Japan-Chile summit meeting between the two heads of state will be held on the occasion of the upcoming APEC summit meeting in Busan. Both sides confirmed that both countries maintain good relations in every area. Foreign Minister Walker, responding to the question in relation to Mr. Fujimori, said that there is neither tension nor pressure in the bilateral relations and that Japan and Chile have amicable relations. That is what Foreign Minister Walker said in response to the questions from the floor during the joint press conference.
Q: Let me confirm one thing again on that point. There was a report saying that the Chilean President Lagos voiced displeasure that Japan had failed to notify Chile in advance of Mr. Fujimori’s arrival given that Mr. Fujimori is subject to arrest warrants.
Mr. Taniguchi: The statement that I have just read out, the statement between the Japanese Ambassador to Chile and the Chilean Foreign Minister, stresses the importance of the bilateral relationship. Are you reading one of the news stories?
Q: Yes, I just wanted to check the facts.
Mr. Taniguchi: We cannot give you any confirmation on that report. There has been a reconfirmation of the bilateral relationship that is very much smoothly going on. As I said, it is Chilean Foreign Minister Walker who stressed that there is neither tension nor pressure between the two nations.
Q: Were there any complaints from the Chilean President or not?
Mr. Taniguchi: We have heard nothing.
Question concerning nationality of former President of Peru Fujimori
Q: If I understood you right Ambassador Ogawa said in Chile that Mr. Fujimori has Japanese citizenship. But when he left Japan and entered Santiago, he produced a Peruvian passport. It is against Japanese law to have dual citizenship. What is Japan’s position concerning his citizenship? Does your Government consider him as a Japanese citizen or just as a person who received Peruvian citizenship?
Mr. Taniguchi: The fact that Mr. Fujimori still retains Japanese nationality has been confirmed time and yet again by the Japanese Government. One piece of evidence of that is that we have implemented the right reserved for consulars to make visits with a Japanese national when he or she is detained in a foreign nation. That tells that we regard Mr. Fujimori as a Japanese national. That is a fact. Although we cannot confirm the fact that Mr. Fujimori showed his Peruvian passport when he entered Chile, that does not necessarily contradict that Mr. Fujimori is a Japanese national. He has both nationalities.
Questions concerning consular visit to Mr. Fujimori
Q: I heard it was a 40 minute visit. Is this true?
Mr. Taniguchi: I should check, I do not know.
Q: I heard that Mr. Fujimori was worried about his family. Does that mean his family in Japan?
Mr. Taniguchi: I have heard nothing about it.
Q: 40 minutes is a long time. Could you share some of the discussion between the counsellor and former President Fujimori?
Mr. Taniguchi: Some of it was probably related to his private matters, and if so, I cannot tell you. Other than that, I really should refrain from making any comments on that.

Written by Michael Ha

November 11th, 2005 at 11:46 am

Posted in Fujimori

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