Fans pay $3,400 to chat with Jackson in Japan


TOKYO - Excited fans got the chance to meet Michael Jackson in Tokyo on Thursday -- but only those who could afford to pay 400,000 yen ($3,400) for the privilege.

Fans of the "King of Pop" screamed as he arrived by van at the venue in the Japanese capital for the event, at which he had promised to chat and take pictures with up to 300 guests, but not to sing or dance.

They were not put off by the price.

"I would pay 10 times that amount any time anywhere," said Carlo Riley, a Jackson fan and impersonator with long black hair and a black surgical mask, who danced as he waited in line.

Riley said he flew from the United States especially to meet Jackson face-to-face. "If they do it again, I'll pay it again -- easily," he added.

Since being acquitted of child molestation charges at a trial that ended in June 2005, Jackson has mostly kept a low profile, spending time in Bahrain and Ireland.

He last visited Japan, where he has a huge fan base, in May to accept a music award. Since arriving at the weekend, he has been mobbed by fans during a shopping trip and a visit to Disneyland.

In November, Jackson sang at an awards ceremony in London, his first public performance since the trial, but his efforts were panned by critics.