(b. 28 July 1938)
President of Peru 1990–2000
Born in Lima, the son of Japanese immigrants studied agrarian science and maths, and eventually became head of an agricultural college. In response to the catastrophic state of the Peruvian economy and the ever‐increasing power of the Sendero Luminoso guerrillas, he founded the Cambio 90 (Change 90) movement, and four months later was the surprise winner of the elections of 10 June 1990.
Initially, his tough economic measures further increased domestic unrest, but they proved extremely successful. They reduced annual inflation from 7,000 per cent in 1990 to 22 per cent in 1994, and reversed the economic decline with a growth rate of 7 per cent in 1993. Furthermore, Fujimori managed to contain the guerrillas. With the help of the army he led a coup in April 1992 in order to replace the officials in the state bureaucracy and judiciary with his own followers, and to rewrite the 1979 Constitution, not least to allow his re‐election. Nicknamed ‘El Chino’ (the Chinaman) because of his oriental looks, he won in the first round of the presidential elections on 9 April 1995 with 64.8 per cent of the popular vote. He ignored a constitutional ban on running for a third period in office, and rigged the 2000 elections amidst growing popular, parliamentary, and judicial hostility.
Shortly after his victory in these rigged elections, Fujimori was forced to flee to Japan, as his main backers among the secret service were charged with corruption. Despite the absence of a bilateral extradition agreement, Peru demanded from Japan the extradition of Fujimori. Japan refused, however, pointing out that Fujimori enjoyed the protection of Japanese citizenship.
Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).