Japan to let Fischer leave for Iceland

March 23, 2005 at 11:50 AM

TOKYO, March 23 (UPI) -- Ignoring U.S. requests, Japan has decided to let former world chess champion Bobby Fischer go to Iceland, the BBC reported Wednesday.

Since the 62-year-old was granted Icelandic citizenship Monday, Japanese Justice Minister Chieko Noono said it would be "legally possible" to send Fischer to Iceland once he was confirmed as an Icelandic citizen.

Fischer was detained eight months ago for carrying a revoked U.S. passport while trying to leave the country. He has argued his passport was illegally revoked and has been fighting deportation to the United States, where he is wanted for violating economic sanctions against the former Yugoslavia by playing a highly publicized chess match there in 1992 when he won $3 million in prize money.

Adam Ereli, deputy spokesman for the U.S. State Department, said the government was disappointed in Iceland's move, calling Fischer a "fugitive from justice."

The reclusive Fischer had lived quietly in Japan for a number of years with his fiancee, Miyoko Watai, a former Japanese chess champion before his detention last July.

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