Tokyo, Jan. 7 (Jiji Press)–Japan will make escapes by defendants out on bail punishable following a series of such getaways, notably by former Nissan Motor Co. <7201> Chairman Carlos Ghosn, informed sources said Tuesday.
The Justice Ministry is considering revising the Penal Code to expand the scope of the crime of escape and take other measures. It plans to consult the Legislative Council, which advises the justice minister, as early as next month.
“It’s extremely important to prevent escapes by defendants out on bail,” Justice Minister Masako Mori told a press conference. “We’ll consider so we can consult the Legislative Council as early as possible.”
The crime of escape covers prison inmates as well as detained defendants and suspects. A violator faces a prison term of up to a year.
But defendants out on bail, such as international fugitive Ghosn, are not subject to the punishment.
The council will discuss whether it is appropriate for those cases to be covered, the sources said.
Plans to oblige defendants to wear Global Positioning System tracking devices while on bail are also expected to be discussed. Other expected topics include how to monitor defendants fitted with such devices and how to protect their privacy.
Also on Tuesday, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party held a joint meeting of its judicial and foreign affairs divisions and discussed responses to Ghosn’s departure to Lebanon. According to a participant, some lawmakers called for using GPS devices.
The ministry was considering preventive measures after a man on bail escaped in Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo, after his prison sentence became final last year and defendants fled in Osaka Prefecture, western Japan, after seeing their bail revoked.