BY MAGDALENA OSUMI
Justice Minister Masako Mori has backtracked on an inflammatory comment in which she said fugitive ex-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn should come to Japan to “prove his innocence.”
Some took the comment as a gaffe proving the businessman’s claim that under the Japanese justice system, he is guilty until proven innocent.
In a Thursday afternoon tweet, Mori apologized for saying Ghosn should “prove his innocence” during her media address and said that she meant he should “assert” it instead. The tweet, which went viral, increased the growing international debate over the true nature of the Japanese system, which critics have dubbed “hostage justice.”
On Thursday morning, Mori held two news conferences just hours apart to attack Ghosn for fleeing and to rebuke the 65-year-old businessman for his attack on Japan’s legal system.
Soon after midnight, Mori said: “If the defendant wants to clear his name, he should prove his innocence within Japanese criminal justice proceedings.”
Later in the day, however, she posted a tweet saying she had made a slip of the tongue.