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Japan Sends Minister to Lebanon on Ghosn Case

Japan Sends Minister to Lebanon on Ghosn Case

Friday, 28 February, 2020 - 10:15
In this Jan. 10, 2020, file photo, former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn speaks to Japanese media during an interview in Beirut, Lebanon. (Meika Fujio/Kyodo News via AP, File)
Asharq Al-Awsat

A Japanese vice minister for justice is heading to Lebanon for talks on the case of former Nissan Motor Co. executive Carlos Ghosn, who fled for his home country late last year while out on bail awaiting trial.

Justice Minister Masako Mori said Friday that she was dispatching the official to Beirut to explain the Japanese criminal justice system and improve cooperation.

Hiroyuki Yoshiie will leave Tokyo on Saturday and meet with Lebanese justice minister Albert Serhan on Monday, Japan’s justice ministry said.

"Regarding Lebanon, where Ghosn escaped to, we believe that it is important that a proper understanding of the Japanese criminal justice system is understood and to prevent international crime by strengthening cooperation in the legal and judicial fields," Mori said.

Japan and Lebanon do not have an extradition treaty and it is thought unlikely that Lebanon would agree to send Ghosn back to Japan to face trial.

Mori acknowledged that there were "various environments" and laws that underpin different positions on the issue in each country.

Ghosn was arrested in late 2018 and is facing charges of underreporting income and breach of trust. He says he is innocent. He led Nissan for nearly 20 years.\

Having spent months in detention and struggled to gain his release on bail under stringent conditions, Ghosn said he fled in the belief he could not get a fair trial in Japan.

Ghosn said he fled to his childhood home of Lebanon to clear his name. Lebanon does not have an extradition treaty with Japan.

Ghosn returned to Twitter late on Thursday for the first time in more than a month, soliciting signatures for a petition for the release of fellow former-Nissan executive Greg Kelly, who was arrested at the same time.

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