Ghosn defends escape from Japan

Former Nissan Motor chairman Carlos Ghosn has explained the reason behind his escape from Japan, saying he would not have been able to defend himself in a judicial system where prosecutors have a conviction rate of more than 99 percent.

Ghosn made his case in an exclusive online interview with NHK.

Ghosn, now in Lebanon, is on the International Criminal Police Organization's wanted list, after illegally leaving Japan while he was on bail in December 2019.

He was awaiting trial on charges of financial misconduct and aggravated breach of trust. Two US citizens have been convicted for their part in helping him flee Japan hidden in a large container aboard a private jet.

Asked why he escaped, Ghosn said he determined he had no chance of winning the trial, after he learned that prosecutors win in 99.4 percent of cases in Japan. He said he was persecuted together with his family, and that the only way he could defend himself was by leaving the country.

Ghosn said the most critical moment in the escape was when he was in a box before it was brought on board the private jet. He said it was fortunate that the box was not X-rayed, and that was when he knew he would be leaving Japan very soon.

He went on to say that if the Japanese authorities want a trial, they should transmit the accusations to Lebanon so he can be tried there. He claimed Japanese prosecutors do not want to send the files because they are afraid a plot between Nissan and the prosecutors would come to light.

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office says Ghosn's allegation that the prosecutors conspired with Nissan is categorically false and completely contrary to the facts. It says it will take all possible measures to bring Ghosn to justice in Japan, working together with relevant authorities.