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Japan: Fischer Must Be Deported to U.S.

March 15, 2005

TOKYO (AP) _ Chess legend Bobby Fischer shouldn’t be exempted from Japan’s rule that foreigners who are ordered deported must be sent to their homeland, Japan’s top immigration official said Tuesday.

Fischer and his supporters are asking that he be allowed to go to Iceland, where he has been granted a special passport for foreigners, instead of the United States, where Japan has ordered him sent.

Japanese authorities have detained him since July for allegedly trying to leave for the Philippines on a revoked U.S. passport.

Under Japanese law, a foreigner may only be deported to a country of which he or she is a citizen unless the foreigner is recognized as refugee under international law or is exempt for other special circumstances, said Masaharu Miura, the head of the immigration bureau at Japan’s Justice Ministry.

``This case is not an exception,″ Miura told a parliamentary committee Tuesday.

Washington has sought Fischer _ who became world chess champion in a 1972 match in Iceland against the Soviet Union’s Boris Spassky _ on charges of violating international sanctions against the former Yugoslavia by playing chess there in 1992.

Fischer has denounced the U.S. deportation order as politically motivated. He wants to renounce his U.S. citizenship and has applied to marry a Japanese chess official.

Some of Fischer’s Icelandic supporters have campaigned to help him out of gratitude for putting Iceland in the global spotlight with his 1972 match against Spassky.

Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura rejected a suggestion that Tokyo might be pursuing its case against Fischer due to pressure from the United States.

``I don’t think the Justice Ministry is interpreting the law out of consideration for the United States,″ Machimura said.

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