Peru Election 2006

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Japanese Media Coverage

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Fujimori’s run for the Diet draws condemnation
By Jun Hongo
The Japan Times, Thursday, July 12, 2007

Human rights activists and legal experts Wednesday slammed disgraced former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori’s bid to win a Diet seat in the July 29 House of Councilors election as a shameless attempt to elude justice.
Facing reporters near the Diet building, Kazuo Ohgushi, a professor in the Graduate School of Law and Politics at the University of Tokyo, described Fujimori’s candidacy as “an attempt to flee from justice being brought on himself.”
“Mr. Fujimori must understand that he should set out for the Peruvian court and not for the Japanese Diet,” the expert on Latin American politics said.
Peru has charged Fujimori, 68, with numerous crimes during his decade-long presidency to 2000, including bribery, illegal use of government funds and endorsing death squad killings.
Even though he is under house arrest in Chile, Fujimori announced his candidacy last month for the proportional representation segment of the Upper House election on the Kokumin Shinto (People’s New Party) ticket.
Fujimori is waiting for Chile’s Supreme Court to decide whether he should be extradited to Peru, where the allegations against him include involvement in the Barios Altos massacre of 1991, in which 15 civilians were reportedly mistaken for leftwing guerrillas and killed.
The Japan Network for Bringing Justice to Fujimori, which organized the news conference, asked the Japanese government to hand him over to Peru if he enters the country.
Kokumin Shinto was also hit by the human rights activists for interfering with Peru’s effort to put Fujimori on trial.
“The international society will not bear a possible human rights violator to be free,” said Makoto Teranaka, secretary general of Amnesty International Japan.
Fujimori says he wants to use his experience to benefit Japan
Kyodo News
Santiago, July 12, 2007

Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, who is running in a Japanese national election while under house arrest in Chile, said Wednesday he would like to make use of his political experience to benefit Japan, as election campaigning started in the country.
Fujimori, 68, will not have much of a chance to appeal to Japanese voters in person during campaigning for the July 29 House of Councillors election as he is not allowed to leave his home in the suburbs of Santiago except in emergencies such as sickness.
He does not appear to be perturbed by the situation, however, saying he is ”supported by Japanese friends and staff of the party.” The small opposition People’s New Party asked him to run in the election and Fujimori has agreed.
EDITORIAL: Fujimori’s candidacy
The Asahi Shimbun, July 11(IHT/Asahi: July 12,2007)

It is no longer unusual today for show-biz personalities and professional athletes to stand in elections for public offices. But we are surprised at the news that a former president of a foreign country will run for the Upper House election. Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, 68, decided to run as a proportional representation candidate of Kokumin Shinto (People’s New Party) for the July 29 election.
“I would like to show my gratitude to Japan, the home of my parents, by making use of my presidential experiences,” Fujimori explained.
A son of Japanese immigrants from Kumamoto Prefecture, Fujimori was born in Peru, where his parents registered him as a Japanese citizen at the Japanese Consulate. Fujimori holds dual citizenship, but this in itself poses no problem legally.
Shizuka Kamei of the Kokumin Shinto noted: “Including myself, Japanese lawmakers have become a pretty useless bunch. I want Fujimori to be ‘the last samurai’ who will whip them into shape.”
Fujimori was president at the time of the 1996 hostage crisis at the Japanese ambassador’s residence in Lima. We presume Kamei and his party were impressed by Fujimori’s decisive handling of the crisis.
But we definitely do not think this is a good enough reason for anointing him as the party’s Upper House candidate.
In 1990, Fujimori became the first Peruvian president of Japanese ancestry. He rehabilitated the nation’s near-bankrupt economy and settled a century-old border dispute with Ecuador. These achievements are held in high regard by many. However, in the course of his long administration, a spate of scandals surfaced–corruption by his aide and repression of dissidents and human rights abuses by the military.
Yusuke Murakami, an expert on Latin American politics and associate professor at Kyoto University, said: “Fujimori was ensnared in Peru’s history of authoritarian rule by a handful of strongmen, and became part of that history himself.”
While visiting Japan on his way home from an international conference in Brunei in 2000, Fujimori was forced into resignation. He remained in Japan where he sought asylum. His exile, coupled with people’s memories of the hostage crisis four years before, made him a big name in Japan.
We presume this was what made Fujimori an attractive choice for Kokumin Shinto, a minor entity overshadowed by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and opposition Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan).
But Peruvian authorities have an arrest warrant for Fujimori for his alleged embezzlement of public funds and involvement in the massacre of civilians during his presidency.
Fujimori was detained in Chile when he moved there two years ago in preparation for a political comeback. He is now under house arrest. The Peruvian government is demanding his extradition, and the case is currently being deliberated by the Chilean Supreme Court.
Fujimori is in no state whatsoever now to conduct an election campaign in Japan. There is even speculation in Peru that Fujimori is running for the Japanese Diet in order to escape extradition.
Even if he should win the election, he will hardly be in a position to attend Diet sessions. There will arise the question, too, of whether he should be allowed to keep his dual citizenship.
Fujimori ought to be seeking the trust of Peruvian voters, not Japanese. And we believe that he should show his gratitude to Peru, not Japan.

Written by Max

July 12th, 2007 at 8:08 am

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