Diet seat eludes absentee Fujimori

Kyodo News

Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, who ran in the Upper House election despite being under house arrest in Chile, has conceded defeat.

“I could not conduct election campaigning and it turned out to be a regrettable result,” he said Sunday at the home in a Santiago suburb where he is being detained.

Japanese reporters started gathering there before polling stations closed in Japan.

After the certainty of his defeat was reported at around 2 p.m. Sunday local time, or 3 a.m. Monday in Japan, Fujimori appeared before reporters.

“My feelings toward Japan will not change even though I lost in the election. It was a good experience,” he said.

A Peruvian of Japanese descent who has Japanese nationality — a requirement for running in the election, the 69-year-old Fujimori ran on the ticket of the tiny opposition force Kokumin Shinto (People’s New Party) in the nationwide proportional representation section.

The former Peruvian head of state was arrested in Santiago in November 2005 after arriving unexpectedly from Tokyo ahead of Peru’s presidential election in April 2006. He is wanted in Peru on corruption and human rights abuse charges stemming from his decade-long rule from 1990. He has denied the charges, which include sanctioning paramilitary death squads.

On July 11, a Chilean Supreme Court judge rejected Peru’s request for his extradition, saying it has not been proved he was directly involved in any of the crimes he is charged with. The Peruvian government has lodged an objection to the decision.

Fujimori is well-known in Japan for his role in resolving a monthlong hostage crisis at the Japanese ambassador’s official residence in Lima in 1996-1997.

Because he was unable to visit Japan during the campaign, Fujimori’s Japanese friends took to the streets to call for support in his place.

His Japanese nationality was confirmed by the government in December 2000. His parents reportedly registered his birth with a Japanese consulate in Peru and thereby attained Japanese nationality for him.

Yuko Tojo loses

Yuko Tojo, a granddaughter of Gen. Hideki Tojo, Japan’s wartime prime minister who was hanged after being convicted as a Class-A war criminal, lost in Sunday’s House of Councilors election.

Tojo, a 68-year-old independent, was among the 20 candidates vying for five Upper House seats in the Tokyo metropolitan electoral district. She received about 59,000 votes, several hundred thousand short of the number needed to win a seat.

During the campaign, Tojo called on leaders to pay respect to the souls of the war dead at Yasukuni Shrine, which besides honoring the nation’s war dead is seen as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism as it also enshrines executed war criminals, including her grandfather.

“It’s natural that Japan should have an army commensurate with its world standing,” she said. “I do not think the war dead gave their lives for a country like this.”

Tojo’s views are seen as part of a resurgent rightwing fringe. One of Tojo’s priorities was to urge Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to pay his respects to her grandfather and others at Yasukuni.