Japan Welcomes Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson waves to fans on his arrival at Narita international airport, near Tokyo, Sunday, March 4, 2007.
AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye
Smiling and waving to screaming fans, Michael Jackson arrived in Japan on Sunday for his second visit here in recent years to host an exclusive party and sponsor a fan art competition.

Jackson made his first official foray back into the spotlight after his acquittal on child molestation charges in June 2005 with an appearance in Tokyo to accept an MTV Japan award last year.

A relaxed-looking Jackson in trademark sun glasses and black leather jacket was ushered by guards past hundreds of screaming Japanese fans at Narita Airport on Sunday afternoon, some carrying signs that read "We love Michael" and "Welcome to Japan."

At the VIP party, guests paying $3,500 will get to mingle with Jackson and spend 30 seconds to one minute each of exclusive face time with the Gloved One, according to organizers. It was unclear whether the star will perform any songs.

While in Tokyo, the star will also host a fan art contest for Japanese who cannot afford VIP tickets, organizers Davis, Bain and Associates said in an e-mail.

"Over the years, as Michael Jackson has performed in cities around the world, he has been pleased, honored, and impressed by the large amount of fan art of him," the e-mail said. "He would like to meet fan artists, and more fully appreciate and enjoy their creative expressions."

Three winning artists chosen by Jackson will have brunch with the star and their picture taken together.

Jackson, one of the best-selling artists of all time, has lived abroad since his acquittal, forsaking his Neverland Ranch in California for residences in Bahrain, France, and a castle in Ireland.

He told The Associated Press in January he was back in the United States, where he was widely reported to be pursuing business deals in Las Vegas. "I love Japan," he said at the time. "It is one of my favorite places in the entire world."

Jackson's VIP meet-and-greet party was scheduled for Thursday, with the fan art contest on Friday. It was not clear when Jackson would leave Japan.

Jackson, 48, is not obligated to perform at either event, and promoters refused to comment on how much he would be paid.
  • Tucker Reals

    Tucker Reals is the CBSNews.com foreign editor, based at the CBS News London bureau.