Fugitive former world chess champion Bobby Fischer appealed to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell on Monday to help him renounce his U.S. citizenship as he announced plans to marry a leading Japanese chess official, his lawyer said.
Fischer, wanted in the United States for violating international sanctions on the former Yugoslavia, was detained in Japan last month when trying to travel on a revoked American passport. He has been fighting attempts to have him deported to the United States.
Fischer’s attorney, Masako Suzuki, said she faxed a letter to Powell and the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo demanding that a consular officer be sent to the chess great’s detention center to accept his renunciation of U.S. citizenship.
In the letter, Suzuki accused the embassy of refusing to send an official to Fischer, requiring him to come to the embassy in person. Japanese officials, however, will not allow him to make the trip, she said.
“Although renouncing U.S. citizenship is a legal right . . . the U.S. Embassy in Japan has made it impossible for Mr. Fischer to exercise his right,” said the letter.
A separate statement from Suzuki also said Fischer and Japan Chess Association President Miyoko Watai had signed marriage papers that would be submitted later Monday.
It was unclear whether Japanese officials would accept the marriage application. A Tokyo ward official, Yoshihisa Yabe, said someone in Fischer’s situation would have to either provide a valid U.S. passport or a U.S. government document confirming his citizenship in order to get married in Japan.
Japanese officials also require a document from foreign applicants confirming they are not already married.
It was also not immediately clear whether marriage to a Japanese would affect attempts to deport Fischer to the United States.
Suzuki said Fischer and Watai had been living together since 2000.