Former chess champion Bobby Fischer, who is in custody in Japan and wanted by his native US, has decided to marry a Japanese national, his lawyer said.
His lawyer said he was planning to wed the head of Japan's Chess Association.
The move is being seen as his latest attempt to avoid deportation to the US, where he is wanted for violating sanctions against Yugoslavia in 1992.
Mr Fischer has expressed his intention to renounce his US citizenship and applied for political asylum in Japan, the BBC informs. CNN is reporting that according to Fischer's attorney, Masako Suzuki, the former champ had signed marriage papers with Japan Chess Association President Miyoko Watai, which would be filed later Monday. It is not immediately clear whether he would be allowed to marry and whether marriage to a Japanese citizen would enable him to avoid deportation.
A Tokyo ward official, Yoshihisa Yabe, told The Associated Press that a person in Fischer's situation would have to provide a valid U.S. passport or a U.S. document confirming his citizenship's validity in order to get married in Japan. Suzuki said Fischer and Watai had been living together since 2000.
Fischer's lawyer said she had also faxed a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and the U.S. Embassy in Japan asking an American consular officer be sent to him to accept his renunciation of citizenship, AP reported. In the letter, Suzuki accused the embassy of refusing to send an official to Fischer, requiring him to come to the embassy in person. Japanese officials, however, will not allow him to make the trip, she said.
According to the Telegraph, Miss Watai, a 59-year-old former Japan women's chess champion, had previously been identified only as a friend and supporter of Fischer.
She and other spokesmen for Fischer have said that his arrest is politically motivated, arguing that the Americans made little effort to arrest him for almost a decade and even issued him with a new passport via the US embassy in Switzerland in 1997.
Miss Watai has said she believes that efforts to apprehend Fischer were stepped up in response to his denunciations of America.