Paris Hilton denied entry into Japan after drug conviction, returning home to US

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Paris Hilton denied entry into Japan

NARITA, Japan — Paris Hilton has been denied entrance into Japan and is returning home to the U.S.

An immigration official said Wednesday that Hilton was not allowed into the country.

The 29-year-old celebrity on Monday pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor drug charge in Las Vegas.

Under Japanese law, immigration authorities can deny entry to those who have been convicted of drug-related offenses.

Hilton had been scheduled to promote her fashion and fragrance lines at a news conference in Tokyo on Wednesday.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

NARITA, Japan (AP) — Japanese officials are considering denying Paris Hilton entrance to the country because she pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor drug charge and were questioning her for a second day Wednesday at Tokyo’s airport.

The 29-year-old celebrity socialite was stopped by immigration authorities upon her arrival a Narita International Airport on Tuesday, one day after her plea in Las Vegas, according to an e-mailed statement by Hilton’s representative, Dawn Miller.

Hilton spent the night at an airport hotel after being questioned by officials. She was scheduled to promote her fashion and fragrance lines at a news conference in Tokyo on Wednesday, but that appearance was canceled.

“We met her this morning. The process of determining whether she can enter Japan or not is still ongoing,” said Kazuo Kashihara, an immigration official at Narita.

He declined to give a reason for the delay, but Japanese law forbids entrance to people with convictions for violating drug laws, even in another country, although some individuals have been allowed in under exceptions.

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. Ike Turner, a blues musician who was jailed in the U.S. in 1990 for cocaine possession, was denied entry into the country for a blues festival in 2003.

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.

Officials at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo declined to comment.

Tokyo was the first stop on Hilton’s planned Asia tour, during which she planned to visit Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and open a new retail store in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Both countries have strict drug laws, though an official in Indonesia, which does not bar foreigners convicted of crimes in other countries, said she was unlikely to be denied entry.

Miller’s statement said Hilton was disappointed with the scrutiny by Japanese authorities.

“Paris was contractually bound to her business trip and didn’t want to let down her brands and many Asian fans,” the statement said. “She intended on fulfilling her contract and is trying hard to do the responsible thing, but this is beyond her control. She is very disappointed by tonight’s events.”

The Asia trip had been planned before Hilton’s arrest last month in Las Vegas, when an officer found a small amount of cocaine in her purse. She pleaded guilty Monday to drug possession and obstructing an officer and was placed on informal probation for one year.

The terms of her sentence did not restrict travel overseas.

“We have no legal basis to restrict her from traveling throughout the United States or throughout the world,” Clark County District Attorney David Roger said.

Hilton’s sentence also requires her to complete a drug program, pay a $2,000 fine and serve 200 hours of community service. Her attorney said Monday that she planned to complete the service by volunteering with animal advocacy groups and children’s hospitals.

Hilton served 23 days in a Los Angeles-area jail in 2007 after she was found to have violated her probation on an alcohol-related reckless driving case.

She also was detained in South Africa in July during the World Cup on suspicion of marijuana possession, but the allegation was dropped when another woman in her group pleaded guilty to carrying the drug.

Associated Press Writers Anthony McCartney in Los Angeles, Oskar Garcia in Las Vegas, Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo and Irwan Firdaus in Jakarta, Indonesia, contributed to this report.

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