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April 17, 2003 11:00 AM

Lawyers for Britney Spears have reached an out-of-court agreement and will drop legal action against a Japanese fan who was accused of stalking her, reports Reuters.

On Friday, the pop princess, 21, is expected to withdraw a request for a restraining order to keep Masahiko Shizawa, 41, of Yokohama, Japan away from her — despite her having said in court papers that Shizawa sent her hundreds of love letters and photos and followed her to her homes.

Spears’s legal papers, filed in January, said Shizawa turned up at her houses in Louisiana and Hollywood and his wrote “I’m chasing you” on one of the pictures he sent.

Shizawa, a computer programmer and inventor, maintained that he was simply an “avid fan,” with his lawyer describing him as harmless. The confusion between the parties, said Shizawa’s attorney, was due to a cultural misunderstanding.

Shizawa returned to Yokohama when his visa expired but wishes to resolve the issue with Spears so that he can return to the U.S., the lawyer explained.

Though Spears is expected to file court papers on Friday asking for the case’s dismissal, details of the agreement are not expected to be released.

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