Thursday, January 23, 2014

I never blamed Wisma Putra for Japan fiasco’

KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim today denied that he had blamed the Malaysian Foreign Ministry after Japanese immigration had refused him entry into the land of the rising sun last weekend.

He however said he was uncertain if he was barred from entering Japan due to a technical glitch or the Malaysian Foreign Ministry was behind it.
“I never said (BN was behind it). I said there were hidden hands, because the (Japanese) immigration office made reference to the latest report (when they barred my entry).

“So I said I want a clarification form both from the Japanese authorities and the Foreign Ministry of Malaysia on what was precisely the hidden report,” Anwar told reporters after the Pakatan Rakyat leadership council meeting today.
This “latest report”, according to Anwar, had been provided by the Malaysian government to Japan in 2013. Anwar claimed the immigration officer had referred to this report as the basis for denying him entry.
Contrary to this, the Japanese Embassy in Kuala Lumpur had clarified that Anwar was denied entry because of his failure to apply for a visa.
Although a visa for a Malaysian to enter Japan is unnecessary, the country insists on a visa for those who had previous criminal convictions.
The visitor is required to inform the Japanese authorities of his or her conviction. The country’s laws also provide the avenue for its immigration to bar anyone from entering the country without giving specific reasons.
“…they (the Japanese Immigration) told me it was based on the latest report from last year, meaning 2013. So, of course I wanted to know what the report was, but it was in Japanese and I did not understand a word,” said the PKR de facto leader.
Anwar went to Tokyo on the invitation of the Nippon Foundation chairman Yohey Sasakawa to present a paper on Muslim democrats.
Satisfied at face value
On the Japanese embassy’s defence yesterday, Anwar said his officers had made the relevant queries to the Japanese embassy before leaving for Japan, and was told that all was in order.

According to Anwar, the organisers had also informed the Japanese Foreign Ministry of his visit.
“So what matters now is that we protest because we should not have been treated that way… I have been to Japan three times before, and all those times I was cleared.
“But never mind, I have received an explanation from the organisers in Japan, they regret what happened, have apologised and will request an explanation from the Japanese government,” said Anwar.
He added that if Japan wished to deny having any “hidden report”, then he was satisfied at face-value with the episode, pending a full investigation.
“I have my right not only as an MP, but as a citizen. You have to explain. But I’m not keen to pursue this beyond what is necessary for now.
“The Japanese authorities are coming back, asking for my staff to explain when was the time we made enquiries to the embassy and the authorities in Japan are communicating. So I think I’m not pursuing beyond this,” said Anwar.

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