Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
PETALING JAYA: Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has been denied entry into Japan.
Anwar said he was barred from entering the country when he arrived at Narita International Airport at 6.45am yesterday and was told to board the first flight back or face deportation.
He said the Japanese Immigration officials had explained that he was denied entry because of a previous conviction in 1999.
“I told them this could not be a valid reason on account of the fact that prior to this I had already entered Tokyo without hindrance on three previous occasions in 2006, 2009 and 2012.
“They finally told me that they had to take this action because of a latest report possibly in 2013,” he said in a press statement.
Anwar called on the Malaysian Foreign Ministry to explain what role it had played in respect of the “latest report”.
Anwar said he had no choice but to take the next flight home at 10.45am. He claimed that last week, prior to his travel to Japan, the Japanese Embassy in Kuala Lumpur had affirmed with his office that there were no outstanding issues that could impede his entry into Japan.
“I protest in the strongest terms this unwarranted action of the Japanese government in refusing me entry and denying my legitimate rights to travel freely without let or hindrance.
“It is indeed inconceivable for one of the world’s leading democracies to take this unprecedented action under such tenuous grounds, leaving me with the impression that hidden hands may be at work here,” he said.
Anwar said he went to Tokyo upon the invitation of Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa to present a paper on Muslim Democrats.