Sunday, July 27 1997

Fujimori's documents raise fresh controversy


LIMA, July 26: Alberto Fujimori's lawyer has stated that the Peruvian President was born in Peru, rejecting renewed allegations that he was born in Japan and that his birth documents were later altered.

If Fujimori is not a native of Peru, it would disqualify him from his office.``I have come to the professional conclusion that President Fujimori is Peruvian, born on Peruvian soil,'' Fujimori's lawyer Sandro Fuentes said at a news conference yesterday.

Fujimori's birth certificate is ``clear and sufficient proof'' he was born in Lima, and the other evidence presented by the magazine Caretas suggesting that he was born in Japan are speculation, Fuentes said.

He added that Fujimori had authorised expert analysis of his birth documents if required.

The charges come as Fujimori, the son of poor Japanese immigrants, is wrapped in the worst political crisis of his seven years in office, hammered by protests, scandals and the lowest public approval rating of his presidency.

Three years remain in his term in office. Rumours have circulated for years that Fujimori was born in Japan and his documents were altered to show he was born in Peru.

On Thursday, the magazine reopened the issue when it printed a copy of the official register of Fujimori's mother's entry into Peru, which suggested Fujimori may have already been born when she arrived. The register shows Mutsue Fujimori entering Peru in 1934, four years before Fujimori's official birth date. Yet in the register, she declares having two children. Fujimori is the second of her four children.

Caretas also cited apparent irregularities and alterations in Fujimori's birth and baptism certificates as indications he may have been born in Japan.His baptism certificate shows he was born on August 4, 1938, but his birth certificate lists his birth as July 28 of that year. And his birthplace appears to have been erased and written over on his baptism certificate.Fuentes said the July 28 date on the birth certificate is valid, and the August 4 date on the baptism certificate was the day his birth was registered.

The magazine's allegations set off fears of political instability in Peru, with Legislators warning it was in invitation to a coup.

``To say that the President is not Peruvian, when everyone knows the Constitution forbids foreigners from being President, is an open call for the military to intervene,'' said Congressman Jose Barba.

Copyright © 1997 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.

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