November 02, 2004 17:00 IST
Former world chess champion Bobby Fischer is stressed and
angry about being detained in Japan, but his fiancée said on
Tuesday she has no regrets about their relationship and
hopes he will soon be free.
Fischer has been held in Japan since July when he was
stopped with a passport that U.S. officials said was invalid
and is fighting deportation to the United States, where he
is wanted for violating economic sanctions against
Miyoko Watai, a Japanese chess great who announced her plans
to wed Fischer this year, said the brilliant but eccentric
former champion is finding it increasingly hard to cope with
life in the immigration centre where he is held.
"He is under much stress," she told a news conference after
the first court hearing on Fischer's suit to quash Japan's
deportation order against him, a session that was little
more than a formal exchange of legal documents.
"He is angry at the Japanese government," she said.
Fischer, 61, has been wanted at home since 1992, when he
violated economic sanctions by going to Yugoslavia and
winning $3 million for playing a chess match in which he
beat his old rival Boris Spassky.
Watai, 59, and a four-time women's chess champion in Japan,
said the strain of her frequent visits to Fischer at the
detention centre north of Tokyo, a trip of several hours for
a meeting of about 30 minutes, was growing,
"There are times when I think I might not go but then I get
a phone call from him asking when I am coming," she said.
"So I realise I have to go ... He is counting on me."
Watai said she has no regrets about her engagement to
Fischer and added that the former champion was not shy about
expressing his feelings.
Asked if he had told her he loved her, she said, proudly:
"Yes. Not just once."
"I hope he will soon be able to come home and we can return
to our life together," she said.
An injunction granted in September prevents Fischer from
being deported until his lawsuit is decided. He has made
several other moves to avoid deportation, including a
request for refugee status in Japan and plans to renounce
his U.S. citizenship.
But his lawyers said with a decision on Fischer's efforts to
quash the deportation order unlikely until some time next
year, his detention was likely to drag on. Two appeals for
release on bail have been rejected; a third is pending.
The next meeting on his suit is set for January 29.
"He's been released from the pressure of being deported, but
the pressure of not knowing when he will get out is
growing," said Fischer's lawyer, Masako Suzuki.
Fischer rose to fame in 1972 when he beat Spassky of the
Soviet Union to become world chess champion, a victory
touted as a Cold War propaganda coup for the United States.
He lost the title three years later after refusing to defend
his crown against Anatoly Karpov, also of the Soviet Union.
Karpov became champion by default.
Fischer vanished after the 1992 match but resurfaced after
the September 11 attacks on the United States to praise the
strikes in an interview with a Philippine radio station.
Fischer, born to a Jewish mother, has also stirred
controversy with anti-Semitic remarks.