Japan seeks Lebanese cooperation in Carlos Ghosn case

Special Japan seeks Lebanese cooperation in Carlos Ghosn case
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Japan’s Deputy Justice Minister Hiroyuki Yoshiie
Special Japan seeks Lebanese cooperation in Carlos Ghosn case
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Japan's Deputy Justice Minister Hiroyuki Yoshiie gives a press conference at the Japanese Embassy, in Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, March 2, 2020. (AP)
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Updated 03 March 2020

Japan seeks Lebanese cooperation in Carlos Ghosn case

Japan seeks Lebanese cooperation in Carlos Ghosn case
  • “We believe it is obvious and natural for Ghosn to stand trial in Japan," the Japanese minister said
  • A Lebanese presidency statement noted Yoshiie’s request for cooperation over Ghosn

BEIRUT: Japan’s Deputy Justice Minister Hiroyuki Yoshiie said Monday he hoped Lebanon would cooperate in the case of Carlos Ghosn, the former Nissan boss who fled house arrest in Tokyo for Beirut last year.
Ghosn was awaiting trial in Japan, where he faces multiple charges claiming he under-reported millions of dollars in salary as Nissan chairman, when he made his secretive escape at the end of December. He denies all charges.
The 65-year-old businessman holds Brazilian, French and Lebanese nationalities. Japan and Lebanon do not have an extradition treaty. Japan has requested Ghosn’s return through Interpol and issued an arrest warrant after his escape.
“The Lebanese judiciary is sovereign and only Lebanese citizens and those present on Lebanon’s territory fall under its jurisdiction,” President Michel Aoun said during his meeting with Yoshiie.
The meeting was also attended by Lebanese Justice Minister Marie-Claude Najem and Japan’s Ambassador to Lebanon Takeshi Okubo.
“Lebanon and Japan do not have a judicial cooperation agreement and have not signed an extradition treaty,” Aoun told Yoshiie.
“Ghosn entered Lebanon through Rafik Hariri International Airport in Beirut legally, with a French passport and a Lebanese identity card. The circumstances of his departure from Japan and his move to Beirut are not yet known and he did not disclose them during the press conference he held in Beirut.”
Presidential spokesman Rafik Shalala told Arab News that the Japanese minister did not ask for Ghosn’s extradition, but explained his country’s view on the issue and reiterated his country’s desire to further develop relations with Lebanon.
“Lebanon is keen to develop the best relations with Japan and is reacting positively in supporting the candidacy of Japanese nationals in international forums and councils,” Aoun said during the meeting. He also said that Lebanon had sent correspondence to Japan about the Ghosn case but had yet to receive an official response.
The president thanked Japan for the cash grants to international agencies operating in Lebanon and said these were communicated to Lebanon in a letter from the Japanese ambassador in Beirut.
Last week Japan’s Justice Minister Masako Mori said the government would send a senior judicial official to request Lebanon’s cooperation in collecting information about Ghosn’s escape.
“It is important to get Lebanon to understand the Japanese criminal justice system correctly,” Mori added.
Ghosn has criticized Japan’s legal system, telling a news conference earlier this year that he had fled “injustice and political persecution” after he was left with no other choice but to protect himself and his family.
“The Japanese judicial system should not be based on the idea of revenge,” he added.
Arab News has learned that the Lebanese judiciary denied Ghosn’s request to remove the security guards from outside his Beirut house because the property is owned by Nissan and is therefore private.