Japan denies Paris Hilton entry because of drug plea; she heads home to US, cancels Asia trip

By Shino Yuasa, AP
Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Japan bars Paris Hilton because of drug plea

NARITA, Japan — Paris Hilton was denied entrance into Japan on Wednesday, two days after she pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor drug charge in Las Vegas.

Japan has strict immigration laws that bar entry to those convicted of drug offenses, although exceptions are occasionally granted.

“I’m going back home, and I look forward to coming back to Japan in the future,” a smiling Hilton said to reporters at Tokyo’s airport.

The 29-year-old celebrity socialite was supposed to promote her fashion and fragrance lines at a news conference Wednesday morning in Tokyo. She arrived Tuesday evening but was stopped at the airport and spent the night at a hotel there after being questioned by officials.

The move also abruptly canceled Hilton’s planned appearances in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Jakarta, Indonesia.

Hilton’s publicist Dawn Miller wrote in a statement that Hilton plans to make the trips at a later date.

“Paris is very disappointed and fought hard to keep her business commitments and see her fans, but she is forced to postpone her commitments in Asia,” Miller’s statement, sent as Hilton’s flight left, said. “Paris understands and respects the rules and laws of the immigration authorities in Japan and fully wishes to cooperate with them.”

A Japanese immigration official said she was denied entry Wednesday after a total of about six hours of questioning over the two days. The country has taken a tough line with famous figures in the past, although it also grants exceptions on occasion.

Soccer icon Diego Maradona was initially banned from entering the country during the 2002 World Cup finals for his past drug offenses, but was eventually given a 30-day visa as a “special delegate.” The Rolling Stones struggled for years to gain entry to the country but were eventually allowed in despite its members’ drug convictions. In January 1980, former Beatles member Paul McCartney was arrested for marijuana possession upon arrival at Narita airport. He was deported without carrying out a planned concert tour by his rock group Wings.

Associated Press Entertainment Writer Anthony McCartney contributed from Los Angeles.

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