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Fujimori’s mother and ex-wife say he was born in Peru

August 11, 1997

LIMA, Peru (AP) _ President Alberto Fujimori’s mother and his ex-wife denied allegations he was born in Japan and had his birth records altered to show he was born in Peru _ a prerequisite to holding the presidency.

The allegations, raised by the local magazine Caretas in mid-July, had unleashed a political storm because they would have made Fujimori ineligible to hold office if true.

In her first public statement on the issue, Mutsue Fujimori, the president’s 84-year-old mother, said in a television interview Sunday that any suggestion her son was born in Japan was a ``lie.″

Speaking in halting Spanish, Mrs. Fujimori, a Japanese immigrant, told Channel 4 she arrived in Peru in 1934 just months after her marriage to Fujimori’s father and that the president was born four years later.

Caretas had based its case on the official record of Mrs. Fujimori’s entry into Peru, in which she declared having two children. Fujimori and his brother, Alberto, are her only children.

But Fujimori’s lawyer, Sandro Fuentes, said Mrs. Fujimori’s immigration record shows she had two children because it was made in 1940 _ six years after her arrival.

Channel 4 also showed the passenger list of the Japanese boat Mrs. Fujimori traveled to Peru in 1934, which listed only her name and that of her husband, Naoichi Fujimori.

In addition, the Fujimori family’s official family tree, kept in Japan, shows Mutsue and Naoichi Fujimori’s first son, Alberto, was born in Peru, Japanese historian Toshio Yanaguida said.

Also coming to Fujimori’s defense was his estranged former wife, Susana Higuchi _ considered a reliable source because she would have little reason to want to save her husband’s political career after their messy divorce last year.

Higuchi said that during her 21-year marriage to Fujimori she had never heard anything suggesting he was born in Japan. ``I have always believed he was Peruvian. For me, this is totally clear,″ she said.

With the growing support for Fujimori’s nationality, opposition legislators backed down Monday from their earlier demand for an investigation into the issue.

``Nobody can doubt the impartiality of Susana Higuchi’s testimony, which is one more proof of the president’s nationality,″ Congressman Carlos Chipoco said.

``Now nobody can doubt Fujimori’s nationality,″ said the vice president of congress, Oswaldo Sandoval, a member of the governing party.

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