• Kyodo

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Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, under house arrest in Chile and facing possible extradition to Peru, has been tapped by a minor Japanese opposition party to run in the upcoming House of Councilors election, party sources said Monday.

Fujimori, 68, has apparently given no clear-cut reply to the offer by Kokumin Shinto (People’s New Party), which plans to continue trying to persuade him to run, the sources said.

If Fujimori declares his candidacy, he would be the first former leader of a country other than Japan to run in a Japanese national election.

If elected, it would impact talks between Chile and Peru over his extradition.

Acting Kokumin Shinto leader Shizuka Kamei, a senior 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.

Fujimori was granted Japanese nationality, based on his Japanese parentage, during his self-imposed exile from Peru, where he is on a wanted list for various crimes, including corruption and sanctioning paramilitary death squads. No regulations under the Public Offices Election Law prohibit a candidate under house arrest overseas from running in an election in Japan.

Kokumin Shinto is a small party set up in 2005 by Kamei and a few others who split from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in opposition to its postal system privatization plan.

Earlier this month, the Chilean Supreme Court ordered Fujimori held under house arrest on grounds that he may flee.

Fujimori, indicted in Peru on more than 20 counts of corruption and human rights violations, was arrested by Chilean police on Nov. 7, 2005.

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