I arrived at Narita International Airport at 6.45 this morning from Kuala Lumpur but was barred from entry by the Japanese immigration authorities and was told to board the first flight back home or face deportation.
When I asked why I was not allowed to enter, they told me that it was because of my 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.
I told the immigration authorities there must be some mix-up in this matter and protested that it was not proper for them to bar me from entering the country without a bona fide and valid reason. As I persisted in asking for an explanation, they finally told me that they had to take this action “because of a latest report” possibly in 2013.
I then had no choice but to take the next flight home at 10.45 am.
I had gone to Tokyo on a personal invitation by Mr Sasakawa, Chairman of the Nippon Foundation, to present a paper on Muslim Democrats. As a routine pre-travel procedure, my office had made inquiries with the Japanese Embassy in Kuala Lumpur last week and was informed that there would be no issues outstanding which would be an impediment to my entering the country.
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 and leaves me with the impression that hidden hands may be at work here.
In this regard, I demand an explanation from the Malaysian Minister of Foreign Affairs, in particular, as to what role Wisma Putra has played in this scandalous episode in respect of the so-called “latest report” that has purportedly led to my being forcibly evicted from Japan.
Head of Opposition, Malaysian Parliament
19th January 2014