Fugitive chess legend Bobby Fischer was transferred Tuesday from the Immigration Bureau facilities at Narita International Airport to the East Japan Immigration Center in Ushiku, Ibaraki Prefecture, his lawyer said.
Fischer, 61, had been held at Narita since July 13 pending an extradition request by the United States.
Washington has sought to arrest him since 1992, when he defied an international embargo against the former Yugoslavia by traveling there to play a chess match with Boris Spassky. His lawyer, Masako Suzuki, said immigration officials did not disclose the reason for Tuesday’s transfer, but she added that going by past cases it was likely Fischer would be kept there for some time and would not be deported immediately.
“I think immigration is eyeing a long-term stay. It would seem natural to keep him at the airport if they were thinking of deporting him soon,” Suzuki said.
Meanwhile a group of German chess players in Berlin said Monday it has called on the city to offer political asylum to the chess master.
In a letter to the interior minister titled “Free Bobby Fischer,” the organizers of the Chess Classic Mainz reminded the government of Fischer’s German roots.
Fischer, who became an American hero for wresting the world chess crown from Soviet domination during the Cold War, could face 10 years in prison if convicted.
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