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Chika campaign gains momentum -

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LISA MILLAR: It's been a case that's fascinated the Japanese but gone virtually unnoticed in

Chika Honda spent a decade in Australian jails for a crime she's always insisted she didn't commit.

She was part of a Japanese tour group arrested for importing heroin in 1992.

Many Japanese see her case as a great miscarriage of justice and now the makers of a documentary
called Chika are hoping their work will help overturn her conviction.

As Nance Haxton reports from Adelaide.

NANCE HAXTON: Chika Honda was 36-years-old when she finally arrived in Australia from Japan for a

Little did she know that she would spend the next decade in prison in Australia, after she was
arrested on heroin-smuggling charges at Melbourne airport.

The case against her was strong. Customs officials found 13-kilograms of heroin concealed in
luggage belonging to her and three of her friends.

But Japanese-Australian artist Mayu Kanamori says looking at the evidence in more depth shows that
Chika Honda's case should be re-examined.

MAYU KANAMORI: Whether it is the documentation from the court case or the investigations also other
investigative reports that came out of Japan, these things all point to the innocence of Chika

NANCE HAXTON: It was after hearing about the case and the media attention it was receiving that
Mayu Kanamori visited Chika Honda in two Melbourne prisons.

After several of these visits she created and directed an award winning radio documentary on her
case, which has now evolved into the play Chika.

MAYU KANAMORI: But when I met her, I knew she was far too naive, is that the right way to say it. I
just knew that this woman could not have done that.

NANCE HAXTON: Chika Honda was released on parole in November 2002 and now lives in Japan.

She tried unsuccessfully to get a visa to come back to Australia to see the play.

Chika Honda is not alone in seeking a pardon.

The case has received great publicity in Japan where it is known as "The Melbourne Incident", and
Bond University Professors Paul Wilson and Eric Colvin have gathered evidence which they will use
in a petition to the Governor-General to overturn her conviction.

Mayu Kanamori says she hopes the show adds momentum to the campaign.

MAYU KANAMORI: I am hoping that her name is going to be cleared as soon as possible. Every time I
see the production myself, a tear comes to my eye because she says when her name is cleared she can
come to Australia again to see her friends.

The amazing thing about the Chika Honda story is that she is not bitter. She is not bitter. Of
course she wants her name cleared but she is not bitter about the Australians. She has made
Australian friends in prison.

She has had many supporters and she would dearly love to come and visit the country and meet her
friends again.

LISA MILLAR: Creator and narrator of Chika, Mayu Kanamori ending Nance Haxton's report.