Alberto Keinya Fujimori was inaugurated president of Peru on his 52nd birthday, becoming the first person of East Asian descent to lead an American republic. He was born in Lima on July 28, 1938, Peru's independence Day. His parents, Naochi and Matsue Fujimori, had emigrated four years earlier from Shiyajama, Japan, to Peru, where they initially worked as agricultural field hands. The future president and his two brothers and two sisters were raised in La Victoria, a working-class district of Lima, and attended public schools. The valedictorian of his high school class, Fujimori in 1956 achieved the top score on the examination for admission to Peru's prestigious La Molina National Agrarian University. He graduated at the very top of the agricultural engineering program in 1961. The following year he returned to La Molina as a professor of mathematics. Fujimori received post-graduate training at the University of Strasbourg in France and in the United States, earning a Master's degree in mathematics from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1969. Fujimori widely traveled in Peru and abroad, Fujimori spoke Spanish, Japanese, English, French and German.
In 1984, shortly after becoming dean of the Faculty of Sciences at La Molina, that university's assembly elected him rector (president) of the school for a five-year term. The rectors of Peru's 30 other national universities chose Fujimori president of their council for the period 1987 – 1989.
Two years before the 1990 election, Fujimori and several other politically independent professionals and businessmen founded the Cambio 90 (Change 90) movement as a vehicle for their participation in the contest. Meanwhile, Fujimori increased his public visibility as the host of 'Getting together', a radio program devoted to public affairs. In this capacity he demonstrated his awareness of important issues and a notable ability to foster understanding among guests with opposing views.
On the June 8 election day, Fujimori won most of the votes that had gone to candidates that eliminated in the first round, garnering 56.5 percent of the total to 34 percent for Vargas Llosa. President Fujimori was initiated on July 28, 1990. He asserted in his inaugural address that he had inherited a 'disaster' from his predecessor, Alan Garcia Pérez. The new administration quickly introduced its own economic 'shock'.
Fujimori was married in 1974 to civil enigineer Susana Higuchi and they had four children together. During his first term in office, Susana Higuchi became Fujimori's most vocal adversary. She announced in 1994 that she would seek office in an attempt to defeat him. Fujimori passed Peruvian law which prohibited her from running for office on the grounds that she was related to him. Their marriage ended with her being banned from the palace. Fujimori won the election in 1995 by a landslide.
In 2000, Fujimori failed to win a majority of votes in the April 9 presidential election. The results meant that he had to face the second-place finisher, Alejandro Toledo, in a runoff to be held by early June. Fujimori won the runoff with 51 percent of the vote on May 28, 2000. After facing international pressure after his lopsided re-election victory, he went on national television to defend his claim to a third term in office.
Surrounded by a bribery scandal involving a top aide, Fujimori announced on September 16, 2000 that he was calling new elections and that he would not be a candidate. He also said he would deactivate the National Intellegence Service, whose chief, Vladimiro Montesinos, was accused of offering bribes to an opposition congressman. Hourse before Fujimori's announcement, the Organisation of American States had issued a demand that he suspend Montesinos and other officials allegedly linked to the scandal. The dmand warned that if Fujimori did not comply, attempts at reconciliation with the opposition would be damaged. The misdeeds came to light after a video showing Montesinos apparently bribing an opposition lawmaker to join Fujimori's ruling party was leaked to the press. Montesinos fled to Panama, seeking asylum. At least 10 lawmakers left Fujimori's political ranks because of the scandal. On October 3, 2000, opposition forces agreed to Fujimori's plan that he will remain in power until July 2001, apparently ruling out a transition government taking control before special elections are held. The agreement had to be approved by Congress.