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Editorial: If Ghosn has something to say, he should say it openly in court

  • January 10, 2020
  • , The Japan News , 7:25 p.m.
  • English Press

Former Nissan Motor Co. Chairman Carlos Ghosn merely repeated the same claims he made previously. He offered very little that was new.


Ghosn has held his first press conference since arriving in Lebanon, the country he fled to while on bail after being indicted for crimes including aggravated breach of trust.


Ghosn insisted his arrest had been plotted by Nissan. Ghosn frequently blasted Japan’s judicial system, and said he had “no other choice” but to flee because he did not think he would get a fair trial in Japan.


His self-centered claims are based on flimsy grounds. It is clear they provide no reason that could justify escaping abroad.


Justice Minister Masako Mori held two press conferences after Ghosn had spoken to reporters. Mori was quite right to say that Ghosn “has been propagating … false information on Japan’s legal system and its practice. That is absolutely intolerable.”


The Justice Ministry’s website is carrying Mori’s comments in Japanese, English and French. It is essential that the facts be thoroughly explained so more people can understand that Japan’s judicial system functions fairly.


During his press conference, Ghosn expressed disgust at being basically prohibited from contacting his wife while he was out on bail.


Ghosn’s wife was involved in the management of a company to which Ghosn is suspected of funneling Nissan funds, which relates to the breach of trust charges against him. Given that Ghosn’s wife was tied to this case, it was highly possible they might have destroyed evidence if they had been permitted to freely contact each other. Restricting their access to each other was unavoidable.


Ghosn was detained for a total of 130 days. At the press conference, he insisted it was unfair that he had been placed in a solitary cell and detained for a long period. However, in Japan, courts impartially decide on the necessity of detention, so Ghosn’s criticism misses the mark.


Most Japanese media organizations were refused permission to attend Ghosn’s press conference. If this was done intentionally to exclude media outlets whose coverage he did not agree with, it is nothing more than a self-serving approach.


Ghosn did not discuss any details of how he managed to sneak out of Japan, which has been the subject of considerable attention. However, investigations by the Metropolitan Police Department and other authorities are steadily piecing together Ghosn’s escape, which involved the cooperation of several foreigners and targeted an airport with weak security inspections.


Tightening departure procedures is among the steps that must be taken following Ghosn’s escape.


Ghosn indicated he would provide evidence that clears the suspicions swirling around him. If Ghosn has something he wants to say, he should return to Japan and speak fairly and squarely in an open court.


The Japanese government also must continue pressing the Lebanese government to hand Ghosn over so the truth can be fully exposed in a trial.

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