TOKYO – Carlos Ghosn’s escape from Japan was unjustifiable, Justice Minister Mori Masako said on Sunday in the first official comments from the country’s authorities.
The criminal justice system in Japan protects the basic human rights of individuals and there is no room to justify the defendant’s escape, Mori said.
There is no record of his departure and he probably left the country by illegal means, she said.
She also confirmed that Ghosn’s bail had been revoked and an Interpol red notice had been issued at the request of Japan.
Mori added that Tokyo would collaborate with related authorities, countries and international organizations involved and will take all possible measures to ensure criminal proceedings in Japan are properly carried out.
Prosecutors are to conduct investigations along with relevant organizations and Mori said she would do everything possible to bring the circumstances of his escape to light.
Tokyo prosecutors said in a separate statement that they will carry out their own investigation into Ghosn’s departure.
Ghosn’s escape “is regrettable as it ignored our country’s legal procedures and is equivalent to crime,” Saito Takahiro, deputy chief at the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office, said in a statement cited by Kyodo news agency.
Ghosn, 65, had been under strict house arrest on bail in Tokyo, awaiting an expected April trial over alleged financial misconduct.
The former chief of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance left Japan clandestinely on Dec. 29 from Osaka and reached Beirut in a private jet with a stopover in Turkey.
In a statement from Beirut on Tuesday, he claimed to have left his country to escape “injustice and political persecution.”
Japan does not have an extradition treaty with Lebanon, therefore Lebanese law will be applicable in Ghosn’s case and hence the possibility of the businessman being handed over to Tokyo is unlikely, Justice Minister Albert Serhan said in interviews to Japanese media.
As well as the Japanese investigations, Turkey has also opened a probe into whether Ghosn violated Turkish laws during his departure to Lebanon and has detained five people suspected in being involved in his escape.
Ghosn, born in Brazil to a family of Lebanese roots, is expected to hold a press conference on Jan. 8 in Beirut, the first since his November 2018 detention.