Fujimori, who led Peru from 1990 to 2000, has been a fugitive in Japan since he fled there in November 2000 when a corruption scandal toppled his government.

In a statement received by Reuters, Fujimori said he left the Japanese capital, Tokyo, on Sunday and flew to Santiago, Chile, arriving there at 3.30 local time (1830 GMT).

"It is my aim to temporarily remain in Chile as part of my efforts to return to Peru and keep my promise to an important part of the Peruvian people who have called on me to be a candidate in the 2006 elections," he said.

Fujimori, 67, arrived by private plane from Mexico on Sunday afternoon, Chilean media said. He was accompanied by four people who were not identified. The reports said he went from the airport to a hotel.

 

He arrives in the region at a time of tense relations between the country and Peru after Peru's Congress passed a law last week to try to reclaim sea territory from Chile.

Local radio stations reported that Fujimori was driven from Santiago's international airport to a hotel in the capital.

It was not immediately clear why he was not arrested on arrival in Chile, since he is wanted on an international arrest warrant.

Peru has tried and failed to extradite Fujimori from Japan, and planned to take a suit to the International Court in The Hague this year to try to force Japan to send the former president back to Peru for trial.