Speaking at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo, the former deputy prime minister joked that the Jan. 19 incident at Narita International Airport was "an attempt by the (Japanese) Foreign Ministry and immigration to give me additional publicity."
When Anwar, 66, arrived at the airport that day on a personal visit, immigration agents refused him entry, citing a previous criminal conviction in Malaysia.
Anwar was convicted on charges of corruption and sodomy in 1999, a judgment that many in Malaysia and abroad regard as politically motivated. The sodomy conviction was later overturned.
The Japanese Foreign Ministry has claimed that immigration agents turned Anwar away because he did not follow entry procedures.
But Anwar on Friday again refuted those claims, reiterating that prior to leaving Malaysia last month his office had made inquires with the Japanese Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, and was informed that "nothing was required."
Although Anwar passed through immigration at Narita airport on Thursday without incident, his critics in the Malaysian media, he said, have attempted to harm his reputation by claiming that Tokyo has blacklisted him.
Nevertheless, he said he harbors no bitterness over the incident, stressing that bilateral ties are more important. "What I had to endure is a flight to and back. The stewardesses took very good care of me," he quipped.
On relations between the two countries, he criticized Tokyo for being "excessively careful" in its dealings with Prime Minister Najib Razak's United Malays National Organization, the main party in the ruling National Front ruling coalition.
The coalition, he said, pays lip service to democratic reform, while lining its members' pockets with billions of dollars of illicit gains.
"You can't claim to have a transparent system when you end up having ministers and prime ministers amassing such wealth," he said.
Despite this systemic corruption, Japan maintains a "detached position that you only deal with the established government," he said, "which, coming from a democratic county, I find difficult to understand."
Instead, he said, Tokyo should seek to better understand the sentiments and priorities of Malaysia's opposition groups.
Malaysia's opposition coalition, headed by Anwar's People's Justice Party, won 89 seats in May's general election, up from 82 in the 2008 election, but well behind the National Front's 133 seats.