Fujimori denies corruption, may run in elections


TOKYO, AP

Ousted Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori denied corruption allegations and said he is considering running in Peruvian parliamentary elections next spring, Japanese media reported Sunday. Speaking at a friend’s seaside vacation home south of Tokyo, Fujimori denied allegations that he abused his office to acquire illicit wealth and transferred the funds overseas. In separate interviews with Japan’s leading newspapers, he said he is confident an investigation will find him innocent. “I have never owned shares in Peru, in Singapore, in Panama, or in Japan,” Fujimori told the Mainichi Shimbun. “Investigators should go ahead with the investigation to clear my name.” Fujimori also did not rule out a comeback in Peruvian politics. “I am considering running in the April parliamentary elections,” he told the Asahi Shimbun. On Friday, Peruvian officials widened their probe of Fujimori’s former spymaster Vladimiro Montesinos to investigate whether the president himself was involved in corruption. Fujimori, 62, is living in self-imposed exile in Japan, his ancestral homeland. Tokyo has no extradition treaty with Lima. Since checking out of a Tokyo hotel last week, his whereabouts have been somewhat of a mystery. On Sunday, he was staying with a friend in the resort town of Miura, Kanagawa Prefecture (state). He refused to be interviewed by reporters from the Associated Press, saying he was exhausted after speaking with Japanese reporters all day. Fujimori told the Mainichi that he has only one regret about his term as president — his close relationship with Montesinos.“One of the mistakes I made was placing too much trust in Montesinos,” Fujimori was quoted as saying. But he said his successful crackdown against the Shining Path leftist guerrilla movement was proof that there were no human rights violations during his time in office. He said his request to live in Japan was still pending. “I am waiting for the Japanese Justice Ministry’s judgment as to whether I qualify to reside in Japan,” he told the Yomiuri Shimbun. On Tuesday, Peru’s Congress rejected Fujimori’s resignation and dismissed him on grounds of moral unfitness. In Tokyo, a Japan-based group called the Network Supporting the Democratization of Peru held a meeting Sunday in which speakers demanded Fujimori’s return to Peru and criticized Tokyo’s handling of the deposed leader. “For the sake of his family’s honor, he should return to Peru to help resolve the allegations against him,” said Hidetaka Ogura, a former Japanese Foreign Ministry official who was held hostage after rebels in 1996 raided the Japanese Embassy in Peru. He condemned Fujimori for stepping down from leadership while abroad and urged the Japanese government to assist Peruvian authorities with their investigation of Fujimori.