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A magazine report that Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori was born in Japan -- and therefore is ineligible to serve as president -- is a hoax, a cousin of the president said today.

"It's completely groundless," said Nobuo Ishihara, 68, who runs a food business in Kumamoto, the hometown of Fujimori's parents in southern Japan.

Kumamoto City Hall said there is no record of Fujimori being born in Japan.

For years, news reports have alleged that Fujimori, whose parents immigrated to Peru, was born in Japan but that his birth certificate and other documents were altered to make it look like he was born in Peru.

On Thursday, the Peruvian magazine Caretas carried a copy of the official register documenting Fujimori's mother's entry into Peru, which suggested she arrived after her son was born.

Under the Peruvian constitution, anyone born outside the country is banned from the presidency. Opposition legislators have called for a probe of Fujimori, who is increasingly unpopular at home.

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