Alberto Fujimori, the former president of Peru now under house arrest in Chile, has surprised everyone with the announcement that he will run for the Senate in his motherland, Japan. Despite his future being in the hands of the Chilean Supreme Court, where he facing charges of corruption and human rights abuses, and while simultaneously holding out hopes of eventually returning to Peru to reclaim the presidency there, Fujimori has accepted an offer from the small People's New Party to run for a seat in the Upper House of the Japanese National Diet. Authorities in Peru and Chile, where he was intercepted in 2005, have said that the election in Japan will not affect any possible extradition order issued by the Chilean court.
Blogger I, Shingen expresses disbelief at the decision, writing that “It's like they don't even know him“:
We are all aware of the supposed crookedness of former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, as well as the close ties he’s kept to his ethnic homeland, particularly as a means of staying away from Peruvian law. However, I did not think that a Japanese political party would be THIS foolish:
If Fujimori declares his candidacy, it is believed he will be the first former leader of a country other than Japan to run in a Japanese national election. PNP acting leader Shizuka Kamei, himself a senior Japanese politician, and Fujimori have known each other for a long time, and an aide to Kamei was sent to Santiago on Monday to visit Fujimori to make the election offer, the sources said. Kamei is believed to admire Fujimori’s political skills, seen in such accomplishments during his 10-year rule of Peru beginning in 1990 as resolving territorial disputes with Ecuador and rebuilding the Peruvian economy.
As one commenter at Japan Today wrote: “So even mass murderers are better than the LDP these days…”
Farty (that was his username, I kid you not) has a point. How can any political party think about calling up someone who is wanted for political corruption and extralegality in his previous constituency? While Kokumin Shintou (People’s New Party) are hardly a challenge for the LDP, that is really not the point. This is like (although to a lesser degree) David Cameron asking Augusto Pinochet to run for a constituency in the next general election…
I never cease to be astounded by Japanese politics. This is one example of why.
Japanese bloggers were near unanimous in their reactions to the former Peruvian president's plans. Blogger hikakun18 explains:
That this old guy was messing things up in Peru is a known fact. It is wrong to show favouritism towards Fujimori just because he has a Japanese citizenship.
We must not forget the incident in which he killed child soldiers of the Tupac Amaru in the occupation of the Japanese Ambassador's residence. In fact, he has been charged for murders, including the shootings of those who surrendered. On top of that, there was corruption and abuses of power, election fraud, oppression and so on. I really don't understand the reason for harbouring an “almost dark” person, who has an endless list of criminal charges.
Other bloggers point out the double-standard that the Japanese government has applied to Fujimori, who — unlike everyone else [Ja] — is allowed to hold dual (Japanese/Peruvian) citizenship. Blogger Megurie reacts with anger to this double-standard, concluding that Fujimori should not be allowed to run:
Therefore, Mr. Fujimori's candidacy must not be allowed.
Interesting round-up, specially when, if you read the articles about the issue on most Japanese media, they hardly mention the “human rights abuses” charges. For example, the NTV website, reporting the scoop about Fujimori running for PNP, only mentioned “corruption” charges. It seems some Japanese bloggers are well-informed anyway.