Paris Hilton’s music career has stalled out at this point, but the socialite can now claim to be in the same class as such pop icons as Paul McCartney and the Rolling Stones after Japanese officials denied her entry into the country on Wednesday (September 22).
Hilton flew to Japan following her guilty plea on Monday in Las Vegas to misdemeanor drug possession charges, but the hotel heiress got only as far as the airport in Narita, where officials held her for six hours of questioning before telling the 29-year-old that she was not allowed to enter the country.
According to The Associated Press, Hilton was forced to cancel her Asia press tour in support of her clothing line and return home on Wednesday because Japanese officials decided that her recent drug conviction violated strict Japanese immigration laws that deny entry to some visitors convicted of drug offenses.
“I’m going back home, and I look forward to coming back to Japan in the future,” Hilton, smiling, told reporters before boarding her private jet for the flight back home. The about-face meant Hilton would not be able to appear at a Wednesday news conference in Tokyo to promote her fashion and fragrance lines. She also canceled appearances in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Jakarta, Indonesia, which were planned before her August 27 arrest in Las Vegas.
After spending more than six hours over two days being grilled by immigration officials at the airport hotel, a weary Hilton said she would give it a try some other time. “I’m really tired,” she said.
Her spokesperson said in a statement, “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. … Paris understands and respects the rules and laws of the immigration authorities in Japan and fully wishes to cooperate with them.”
The hotel heiress was arrested on August 27 in Las Vegas after the SUV she was riding in was pulled over and police found 0.8 grams of cocaine in her purse. Hilton pleaded guilty to drug possession and obstructing an officer in a deal that will save her from serving a one-year term in jail. In return, she has to pay $2,000 in fines, complete 200 hours of community service and complete what is being described as an “intensive” substance abuse program. She was also given a one-year suspended sentence in the case, which means that if she is arrested for anything besides a minor traffic violation in Vegas in the next year, she will have to serve the full one-year term. Hilton will also be on probation for one year.
The terms did not, however, restrict her travel overseas.
An immigration official at the airport said that Hilton might actually have been able to pass the border if she had applied for an entry permit earlier, instead of trying to do so the day after pleading guilty in Las Vegas.
Though Japan takes a tough stance on drug offenses, the bans do not always last and can sometimes be overcome. Soccer icon Diego Maradona was barred from entering the country in 2002 during the World Cup finals due to his multiple past drug arrests but was eventually given a 30-day visa as a “special delegate.” Even though several members had drug issues in their past, the Rolling Stones were also allowed into the country after years of struggles at the border. Former Beatles member Paul McCartney was arrested and deported in 1980 for marijuana possession when he was caught with the drug at the Narita airport.