That passport was revoked in a letter sent from the U.S. Embassy in Manila, dated Dec. 11, 2003, said Watai, who added that Fischer never received the notification. According to the document, which Watai posted online, the passport was rescinded on the order of the State Department in Washington.
A Japanese government document also posted by Watai indicated that Fischer's passport was accepted as valid when he entered Japan on April 15 on a 90-day visa. That permission was rescinded retroactively only when he was stopped on his way out through Narita on Tuesday.
Fischer's arrest comes as Tokyo and Washington appear to be nearing an agreement on how to deal with the expected arrival here of former U.S. Army Sgt. Charles Robert Jenkins, who allegedly defected to North Korea almost 40 years ago. Jenkins, who needs medical treatment, is married to a Japanese woman.
U.S. Ambassador Howard H. Baker Jr., who met with Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi today, said the U.S. might delay taking Jenkins into custody so he could be treated.
In Tokyo, Fischer was in the city he was most likely to call home at the time of his arrest. He has lived in this sprawling metropolis of 13 million intermittently for several years, blessedly anonymous in a culture in which the Western version of chess remains a specialized taste.
Fischer has occasionally dropped into some of Tokyo's chess clubs, autographing a board for one group, according to a Japanese newspaper. He reportedly spends most of his time playing random chess, a game he invented in 1996. In it, back-row pieces are arranged in various orders to do away with what he calls the yawning predictability of classic chess.
But Fischer has his political quarrels with Japan too. "He doesn't like the way the Japanese government follows American policy," Watai said. "He thinks Japan is not independent. He thinks Japan is still an occupied country.
"But he doesn't want to go back to America," she continued. "He doesn't like Americans or American food."
And, she added emphatically, "he doesn't like the American government. Not at all."