Japan tightens immigration procedures after former Nissan chief Ghosn flees

Japanese prosecutors carry bags on January 2, 2020 as they leave the residence of former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn, who jumped bail and fled to Lebanon. (Jiji Press/AFP)
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Updated 05 January 2020

Japan tightens immigration procedures after former Nissan chief Ghosn flees

  • Japanese authorities have remained quiet after Carlos Ghosn fled to Lebanon
  • Prosecutors issued a statement defending Japan’s justice system

TOKYO: Japan on Sunday said it would tighten immigration measures after former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn fled the country while on bail, its first official response to an astonishing escape that has transformed the executive into an international fugitive.
Authorities have remained quiet after Ghosn revealed on Tuesday that he had fled to his childhood home of Lebanon to escape a “rigged” justice system in Japan. All government offices and most businesses in Japan have been shut for the new year holidays.
The former Nissan Motor and Renault chairman was arrested in Tokyo in November 2018 and faced multiple charges of financial wrongdoing, which he denies.
Justice Minister Masako Mori said Ghosn’s “apparently illegal” departure was very regrettable and added there was no record of him leaving the country. She promised a thorough investigation and said authorities had issued an international notice for his arrest.
“I have instructed the Immigration Services Agency to coordinate with related agencies to further tighten departure procedures,” she said, adding that Ghosn’s skipping bail was not justified, and that the court had revoked his bail.
Separately, prosecutors issued a statement defending Japan’s justice system, saying his departure ignored the legal system and amounted to a crime.
It remains unclear what Japan might do to bring him back. It has extradition treaties only with the United States and South Korea, meaning it might be difficult to return Ghosn from Lebanon.
Mori was due to brief reporters in Tokyo on Monday morning.
Lebanon this week said it had received an Interpol arrest warrant for Ghosn. It has said he entered the country legally.
A senior Lebanese security official said it was not yet clear whether Ghosn would be summoned for questioning over the warrant, but added that Lebanon does not extradite its citizens.
The Wall Street Journal has reported that Ghosn slipped out of Japan aboard a private jet hidden in a large black case typically used to carry audio gear. He was accompanied by a pair of men with names matching those of American security contractors, the newspaper said, citing people familiar with an investigation into the escape.
There was no X-ray conducted of the large case, which was loaded onto the private jet that was believed to have carried Ghosn, Japanese broadcaster NHK reported.
A Turkish private jet operator has said two of its planes were used illegally to carry Ghosn, with an employee falsifying the lease records to exclude the executive’s name.
According to the company, MNG Jet, he flew from Osaka, Japan, to Istanbul, where he changed planes and flew to Beirut.
Turkey has detained seven people, including four pilots, as part of an investigation into his passage through Istanbul.
Japanese prosecutors said the legal system guarantees all defendants a prompt, open and fair trial. They added that Ghosn’s more than 100 days of detention were justified on the grounds that he “had an extensive domestic and overseas network and that he could deploy his considerable influence to conceal evidence.”


Military promises Pakistani doctors gear to fight virus

Updated 3 min 57 sec ago

Military promises Pakistani doctors gear to fight virus

  • Some of the doctors said they were mistreated by police and that some of their colleagues were beaten
  • The health ministry’s spokesman, Kianoush Jahanpour, said 27,039 people have recovered so far while 3,987 remain in critical condition

QUETTA, Pakistan: Pakistan’s military promised Tuesday that dozens of doctors who were briefly jailed for protesting a lack of protective equipment needed to treat the growing number of coronavirus cases will get the equipment they need.
The 47 doctors protested in Quetta, the capital of southwestern Baluchistan province, on Monday, when they were detained. They were released later the same day, according to provincial spokesman Liaquat Shahwani.
An army statement on Tuesday said the “emergency supplies of medical equipment, including PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) are being dispatched to Quetta.”
However, some of the doctors said they were mistreated by police and that some of their colleagues were beaten. The physicians declined to give their names, fearing reprisals.
Two doctors have died after contracting the new virus in Pakistan, which has recorded 4,004 cases and 54 deaths. Many of the cases have been traced to pilgrims returning from neighboring Iran. Pakistani authorities have imposed a countrywide lockdown until April 14.
In Iran, authorities struggling to battle the virus announced Tuesday they would expand testing to asymptomatic people, but didn’t say how many test kits they have available or provide other details.
Iran’s Health Minister Saeed Namaki said that with active screening of such cases, there are expectations the virus and COVID-19, the illness it causes, can be brought under control by mid-May.
“With this step, we will go after people without symptoms,” said Namaki, adding this would require a large number of tests. He didn’t elaborate. The health ministry said searching for asymptomatic cases would be combined with restrictions on both city and intercity travel and quarantine.
Iran is facing the worst outbreak in the region. Iran’s state TV said Tuesday the new coronavirus has killed another 133 people, pushing the country’s death toll to 3,872 amid 62,589 confirmed cases.
The health ministry’s spokesman, Kianoush Jahanpour, said 27,039 people have recovered so far while 3,987 remain in critical condition.
There are nearly 109,000 confirmed cases across the Middle East, with more than 4,600 fatalities.
In Egypt, the Ministry of Religious Endowments, which oversees mosques nationwide, called off all celebrations and late-evening prayer services for Ramadan, the holiest month of the Islamic calendar. The holiday, when devout Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, begins April 23. Mosques and churches have already closed for prayer to curb the spread of the virus in the Arab world’s most populous country. There is also a nightly curfew but the government has resisted a harsher lockdown.
President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Tuesday sought to reassure the jittery public a day after officials reported 149 new infections, bringing the case count to 1,320 and 85 fatalities in the biggest single-day jump so far.
“So far, the situation is under control,” he said in televised comments. “The goal is to minimize the damage caused by the pandemic.”
The Egyptian military, at the forefront of the country’s fight against the virus, said it set up four field hospitals with more than 500 beds to help treat virus patients.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild to moderate symptoms such as fever and cough. But for some, especially older adults and the infirm, it can cause pneumonia and lead to death.
At a retirement home ravaged by the coronavirus in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba, another resident died, the eighth so far there. Dozens of the home’s resident’s have been infected and relatives have been staging angry protests outside the premises in recent days.
Overall, more than 9,000 have been infected in Israel and 60 have died, the vast majority elderly and many in assisted living facilities.