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Anwar joins list of big names barred from Japan

DENIED ENTRY: Comedian Brand was deported from Narita in 2011 over criminal charges from more than 10 years ago.


    Jan 22, 2014

    Anwar joins list of big names barred from Japan


    MALAYSIAN opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim is not the only prominent person to have been denied entry to Japan.

    Datuk Seri Anwar was barred entry to Japan over the weekend because he did not obtain a visa, an official at Japan's embassy in Kuala Lumpur said yesterday.

    In keeping with its strict immigration rules, Japan has refused entry to many people over the years, including Hollywood celebrities and famous personalities.

    British comedian Russell Brand was stopped at Narita International Airport on May 24, 2011, when he flew there from the United States to attend a concert by his then wife, singer Katy Perry.

    Brand, who was addicted to heroin and had been arrested 12 times, was deported over criminal charges from more than 10 years before.

    In September 2010, socialite Paris Hilton was forced to cancel her Asia tour when immigration officials at Narita denied her entry, following a drug violation in the US.

    Three decades earlier, in 1980, singer Paul McCartney travelled to Japan as part of an 11-city concert tour by his band Wings, and ended up spending nine days at the Tokyo Narcotics Detention Centre after he was found to be carrying nearly 230g of marijuana upon arrival at Narita.

    In July 2004, former world chess champion Bobby Fischer was detained at Narita while trying to board a Japan Airlines flight for the Philippines using a supposedly invalid passport.

    Embassy official Tomoko Nagai said that, while Japan last year lifted a requirement that Malaysians obtain visas to enter the country, Mr Anwar is still required to have one due to his past criminal record.

    He was jailed in 1999 for six years on corruption and sodomy charges, which were later overturned.