LIMA – Peruvian President-elect Alejandro Toledo said Monday he hopes to visit Japan and confer with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi over deposed President Alberto Fujimori, who is living in exile in Japan.
Toledo, who vowed during the presidential campaign to have Fujimori returned to Peru, emphasized that his position has not changed. Peruvian authorities want Fujimori to stand trial in Peru.
“I want to discuss with the Japanese prime minister what measures are possible,” Toledo, 55, said in a television interview. “My hope is for the realization of justice.”
The Peruvian government accuses Fujimori of murder in connection with the mass execution of 15 people by a paramilitary death squad in 1991 and is seeking his extradition. Toledo won a runoff Sunday against former Peruvian President Alan Garcia.
Apart from the Fujimori issue, Toledo said he intends to build “constructive relations” with Japan, a major donor country to Peru.
“Constructive relations with Japan are necessary,” he said. “Investment from Japanese companies is important, and so is more trade between the two countries.”
Toledo, an economist by training, spent six months in Japan in 1994 as a research fellow at Waseda University in Tokyo.
He made no public revelation about his intention to visit Japan until his TV interview Monday.
Fujimori has been formally accused of murder and “dereliction of duty” by Peruvian Attorney General Nelly Calderon in connection with the death-squad incident and alleged involvement in drug trafficking and embezzlement by his former intelligence chief, Vladimiro Montesinos.
Peru and Japan do not have an extradition treaty, and Fujimori’s right to Japanese citizenship, on the basis of having Japanese parents, has been recognized by the Japanese government.
Koizumi indicated Monday that Japan has no intention of handing over Fujimori to Peru.
“Japan has its own laws and we will deal with the issue under those laws,” Koizumi told reporters.
Toledo’s harsh criticism of Fujimori and racist slurs by senior officials of Toledo’s campaign apparently alienated a large number of Japanese-Peruvian voters.
According to Peruvian newspapers, 67 percent of votes cast in Japan by Peruvian voters, most of them Japanese-Peruvians, went to Garcia, compared with 32 percent for Toledo.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.