Paris Hilton has canceled her tour of Asia and returned home after she was denied entry at Tokyo’s airport Wednesday following a drug violation in the United States, running afoul of strict Japanese laws that have previously tripped up celebrities as huge as Paul McCartney.
“I’m going back home, and I look forward to coming back to Japan in the future,” said a smiling Hilton before departing on her private jet, reports Associated Press
writer Shino Yuasa.
The 29-year-old socialite had arrived at Narita International Airport, outside the Japanese capital, two days after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor cocaine charge
in Las Vegas. Japan has strict immigration laws barring entry to those convicted of drug offenses, but exceptions are occasionally granted.
Hilton had been scheduled to appear Wednesday at a news conference in Tokyo to promote her fashion and fragrance lines. She arrived Tuesday evening, but was stopped at the airport and spent the night at an airport hotel after being questioned by Japanese officials.
“I’m really tired,” said Hilton, wearing a black baseball cap and navy sweat suit.
Hilton also abruptly canceled plans for appearances in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Jakarta, Indonesia, according to her publicist, Dawn Miller, who said Paris 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 said in a statement. “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 Hilton was denied entry Wednesday after about six hours of questioning over two days. The country has taken a hard line with celebrities in the past.
Soccer idol Diego Maradona was at first banned from entering Japan during the 2002 World Cup finals for past drug offenses, but was eventually given a 30-day visa as a “special delegate.” The Rolling Stones struggled for years to gain entry so they could tour Japan and were eventually allowed in despite several members’ drug convictions.
In January 1980, former Beatle Paul McCartney was arrested for marijuana possession at Narita Airport, and was deported with being able to hold a planned concert tour by his rock group Wings.
Kazuo Kashihara, an immigration official at Narita International Airport, said if Hilton had applied for an entry permit farther ahead of her arrival, she might have been able to get an exception from Japan’s justice minister. “She just showed up the day after (pleading guilty),” he said.
Just before taking off, Paris tweeted a message to her fans.
“Going home now,” she tweeted. “So disappointed to miss my fans in Asia. I promise to come back soon. I love you all! Love Paris xoxo.”