Michael Jackson back in the US for first time since trial

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Michael Jackson is back in the United States after more than a year of self-imposed exile following his acquittal in a high-profile child molestation trial that ended in 2005.

He is on the comeback trail, planning a pair of "fan appreciation events" in Japan in March, one of which will charge 400,000 yen (£1,690) for the opportunity to have from 30 seconds to one minute of face time with the singer.

During a brief conference call with the Associated Press, which Jackson's handlers said was his first with the media since the trial, Jackson read a statement but allowed only one question: how are you? "I'm fine, thank you," was his reply.

Jackson said he has chosen to return to Japan because of the strong support he enjoys here. "My friends and fans in Japan have been so supportive of me and my family for many, many years," he said. "My fans in Japan helped me achieve historic milestones in the music industry."

The Japan appearances are a chance for Jackson to take an important step in his gradual return to the public eye.