KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was barred entry to Japan at the weekend because he did not obtain a visa, an official with Japan's embassy in Kuala Lumpur said Tuesday.
Anwar had arrived at Narita International Airport on a personal visit early Sunday but was turned away by immigration officials, who cited his controversial 1999 conviction for sodomy and corruption.
Anwar speculated that "hidden hands" were behind the refusal, and his party questioned whether Malaysia's ruling coalition played a role.
But embassy official Tomoko Nagai said that while Japan last year lifted a requirement that Malaysians obtain visas to enter the country, Anwar is still required to have one due to his past criminal record.
She said Anwar did not apply for a visa, as he had for previous visits.
"Japan could not consider a special arrangement for Anwar since we did not receive any prior application for a visa," she said.