Originally created 08/25/04

Japan rejects Bobby Fischer's appeal of deportation



TOKYO -- Japan's Justice Ministry on Tuesday rejected former chess champion Bobby Fischer's demand for protection as a political refugee and issued an order to deport him.

Fischer, in custody since he was detained by Japanese airport authorities on July 13 with an invalid U.S. passport, is wanted in the United States for violating international sanctions against Yugoslavia in 1992.

A spokeswoman for the Justice Ministry, Yoshiko Miyazaki, would not say when Fischer would be deported or where he would be sent, but said that detainees are normally sent to the country where they have citizenship.

Fischer's lawyers said they had already filed suit demanding that the order be canceled, and his supporters protested the ruling, saying the ministry officials who told Fischer of the decision said he would be deported later Tuesday.

"Even if he is not deported, their intentional verbal threat constitutes cruel psychological intimidation and abuse," a statement by a group of supporters.

The deportation order is the latest development in Fischer's legal wrangle with Japanese authorities. In addition to appealing for asylum, Fischer has attempted to renounce his U.S. citizenship and announced plans to marry a Japanese woman.

Fischer rose to chess stardom by defeating Boris Spassky, formerly of the Soviet Union, in a series of games in 1972 to claim the world championship.

In a 1992 rematch against Spassky, Fischer won and collected more than $3 million in prize money. He violated U.N. sanctions by attending the match held in the former Yugoslavia and has been wanted in the United States ever since.