Peru’s Foreign Minister breaking the ice with Japan

Peru's Foreign Minister Jose Antonio Garcia Belaunde

Peru’s Foreign Minister Jose Antonio Garcia Belaunde

(LIP-wb) — Peru’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jose Antonio Garcia Belaunde is visiting Tokyo on Monday for a meeting with his Japanese colleague Taro Aso, with the purpose of breaking the ice after six years of diplomatic crisis between both countries caused by Japan providing a safe haven for Peru’s ex-president Alberto Fujimori.

“I bring the message from our president that we hope to restore bilateral relations with Japan”, Garcia Belaunde said. “We wish to sign a treaty for the protection of investments and an agreement for free commerce.”

This marks the first time that a Peruvian Foreign Minister visits Japan since the “Fujimori case” in November 2000.

Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Aso

Japan’s Foreign Minister Taro Aso

Alberto Fujimori, the son of Japanese immigrants in Peru, took refuge in Tokyo after his government collapsed in the middle of a corruption scandal. Despite repeated requests from Peru and an Interpol worldwide notice in March 2004 for the arrest of Fujimori, Japan refused to extradite him, citing his Japanese citizenship and the fact that the two countries have no extradition treaty.

Finally, in November 2005, Fujimori left Japan on a surprise trip to Chile where he was arrested at the airport.

Shortly after, Lima withdrew its ambassador to Japan in protest against the lack of cooperation by Japanese authorities.

According to a Japanese official, Garcia Belaunde spoke little of the subject during the meeting with Aso.

“He only explained in a simple way that public opinion in Peruvian is divided on the matter”, the official said.