Alberto Fujimori Fujimori (Spanish pronunciation: [alˈβeɾto fuxiˈmoɾi]; Japanese: [ɸɯʑiꜜmoɾi]; born 28 July 1938) is a Peruvian former politician who served as the President of Peru from 28 July 1990 to 22 November 2000. His government is credited with the creation of Fujimorism, defeating the Shining Path insurgency and restoring Peru's macroeconomic stability. Fujimori ended his presidency by fleeing Peru for Japan amid a major scandal involving corruption and human rights violations. Even amid his prosecution in 2008 for crimes against humanity relating to his presidency, two-thirds of Peruvians polled voiced approval for his leadership in that period.
A Peruvian of Japanese descent, Fujimori took refuge in Japan when faced with charges of corruption in 2000. On arriving in Japan, he attempted to resign his presidency via fax, but his resignation was rejected by the Congress of the Republic, which preferred to remove him from office by the process of impeachment. Wanted in Peru on charges of corruption and human rights abuses, Fujimori maintained a self-imposed exile until his arrest while visiting Chile in November 2005. He was extradited to face criminal charges in Peru in September 2007. In December 2007, Fujimori was convicted of ordering an illegal search and seizure and was sentenced to six years in prison. The Supreme Court upheld the decision upon his appeal. In April 2009, Fujimori was convicted of human rights violations and sentenced to 25 years in prison for his role in killings and kidnappings by the Grupo Colina death squad during his government's battle against leftist guerrillas in the 1990s. The verdict, delivered by a three-judge panel, marked the first time that an elected head of state has been extradited to his home country, tried, and convicted of human rights violations. Fujimori was specifically found guilty of murder, bodily harm and two cases of kidnapping.
In July 2009, Fujimori was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for embezzlement after he admitted to giving $15 million from the Peruvian treasury to his intelligence service chief, Vladimiro Montesinos. Two months later, he pleaded guilty in a fourth trial to bribery and received an additional six-year term. Transparency International considered the money embezzled by Fujimori to be the seventh-most for a head of government active within 1984–2004. Under Peruvian law, all the sentences must run concurrently; thus, the maximum length of imprisonment remained 25 years.
In December 2017, President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski granted the 79-year-old Fujimori a humanitarian pardon. The pardon was overturned by Peru's Supreme Court in October 2018 and Fujimori was ordered back to prison. On January 23, 2019, Fujimori was sent back to prison to complete his sentence with his pardon formally being annulled a month later.
According to government records, Fujimori was born on 28 July 1938, in Miraflores, a district of Lima. His parents, Naoichi Fujimori (original surname Minami, adopted by a childless relative; 1897–1971) and Mutsue Inomoto Fujimori (1913–2009), were natives of Kumamoto, Japan, who migrated to Peru in 1934.
In July 1997, the news magazine Caretas alleged that Fujimori had actually been born in Japan, in his father's hometown of Kawachi, Kumamoto Prefecture. Because Peru's constitution requires the president to have been born in Peru, this would have made Fujimori ineligible to be president. The magazine, which had been sued for libel by Vladimiro Montesinos seven years earlier, reported that Fujimori's birth and baptismal certificates might have been altered. Caretas also alleged that Fujimori's mother declared having two children when she entered Peru; Fujimori is the second of four children. Caretas' contentions were hotly contested in the Peruvian media; the magazine Sí, for instance, described the allegations as "pathetic" and "a dark page for [Peruvian] journalism". Latin American scholars Cynthia McClintock and Fabián Vallas note that the issue appeared to have died down among Peruvians after the Japanese government announced in 2000 that "Fujimori's parents had registered his birth in the Japanese consulate in Lima".
Fujimori admitted during one of his trials that Spanish was in fact his second language, implying that Japanese may have been his native tongue.