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How Carlos Ghosn has been spending his days in a cell in Kosuge

19 Comments

Since his arrest on suspicion of tax evasion, ousted Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn has been occupying a cell at the Tokyo Detention Center in Kosuge, Katsushika Ward. Nikkan Gendai launched a series of daily columns about the incident, and in its fourth installment, which appeared in the Nov 30 edition, it introduced readers to how Ghosn has spent the previous 10 days.

The first thing the article points out is that despite Ghosn's high social standing, no special exceptions are being made in terms of his treatment at the facility.

"The wake-up call comes at 7 a.m.," says author Toshio Sakamoto, who formerly worked as a guard at Kosuge. "After the roll call and breakfast, he'll undergo interrogation. Lunch is served from 11:50. I suppose there may be more interrogation sessions from afternoon, but these are interrupted by 30 minutes of outdoor exercise and bathing on certain days. Then comes supper from 4:20 p.m. Afterwards, interrogations may continue until lights out at 9 p.m."

High rolling businessman Takafumi Horie, who wrote an account of his time in Kosuge in 2006, mentioned that classical music is played in the detention center at the 7 a.m. wake-up call. For someone like Ghosn, who has spent much of his life outside Japan, the music may impart a calming sensation, the writer comments.

Although many inmates share cells at the center, according to the aforementioned Sakamoto, it's likely that Ghosn has been occupying a cell for single occupants.

"I suppose he's been assigned a cell with a bed, which is common for foreigners," he says. "The cell measures slightly larger than 4 tatami mats, or about 7 square meters. It's equipped with heating and air conditioning and an English-language booklet of rules and instructions for prisoners is also provided."

As it's supposed Ghosn has scant experience sleeping atop a sembei futon ("rice cracker bedding" that's become flat and hard through long usage), a bed no doubt will be much welcomed, although considering his palatial home adjacent to the Seine River in Paris, he's likely to feel uncomfortable in a cramped cell.

At least he will be permitted to wear his own clothing.

"Since he hasn't been convicted of anything yet, his family is permitted to supply him with casual wear," said Sakamoto, who added that items such as belts and neckties are definitely out. Other prohibited objects include cell phones, personal computers and writing instruments such as fountain pens.

And what about food? When Ghosn first arrived in Japan, it slipped out in an interview that he had accompanied his family to dine on miso ramen (noodles in a broth of soya bean paste). Certainly if he is able to cope with breakfasts of natto (fermented soya beans) and miso soup, things will go easier.

"The breakfasts are prepared by the inmates," says Sakamoto. "There are Japanese style and also some with bread, and while no choice is offered, he'll be served either tea or coffee. Or, he can arrange to purchase instant coffee in the prison canteen, and he'll be supplied with hot water periodically so he can prepare his own."

As for the overall quality of the cuisine, death row inhabitant Kanae Kijima, convicted of multiple murders of men she allegedly defrauded, posted on her blog that "meals at the Tokyo Detention Center are great. They serve Japanese, Western, Chinese cuisine and even ethnic dishes. The soup you get every day compares favorably with what's served at lunch in cafes in Daikanyama (a trendy upscale district one station from Shibuya)."

Alas, cells in Kosuge are not equipped with TV sets, but local radio programs are occasionally piped through the PA system.

"The detention center does not subscribe to English-language newspapers," says Sakamoto. "It's possible his embassy has arranged to send him copies every day, but I suppose articles relating to his own case are expunged from the newspapers before they reach him.

"The only visitors he's permitted are staff from his embassy and his attorney. Telephone calls are not permitted."

While Japanese prisoners are limited to 15 minutes in the bath, Sakamoto speculates Ghosn might be allowed slightly more time, either to bathe or shower.

In an upcoming installment, Nikkan Gendai will attempt to answer the question as to whether, when the case goes to trial, the plaintiff's wealth will be able to sway the law.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

19 Comments
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I know a guy who was in Kosuge Detention Center for a month while pending trial for marijuana. (he got probation) He said that foreigners definitely have it easier because they are exempt from certain duties and have solitary cells and showers.

I was able to talk with him in English when I visited, although the prison interpreter did make us pause frequently. I was also able to give him some clothes, snacks and a “gentlemen’s” magazine.... you know, for the articles.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

@Hallowed: He hasn't been convicted, let alone charged of anything as yet..and this is just a Detention Centre. if he is unfortunate enough (unlikely in my opinion) to ever have to serve a custodial semtence, he will spend time in Fuchu Prison which will be an altogether different experience.

What a mindless comment.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Sounds good to me. Ever been to a US prison? Full of gang members, mobsters, mentally ill, etc. I don't think he would last a few days there (US prisons).

Sounds good?

He is in a place of detention, pre-trial and innocent until proven guilty. The conditions sound like a place of punishment rather than detention.

He should be allowed to have any luxury he wants, as long as he does not bring in weapons or abscond.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

The detention center is where the interrogate him until he breaks. If he doesn’t confess, the odds of a conviction are 50/50. I’m not commenting on my opinion of his guilt or innocence. I’m just stating an opinion on the nature of criminal justice in Japan.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

A detention Centre in Japan is the last place I would like to be......

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The Japanese "justice" system has no right to impose any "duties" on people who have not even been charged with a crime and are being held under conditions which violate their constitutional rights. It's a disgrace.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Sounds good to me. Ever been to a US prison? Full of gang members, mobsters, mentally ill, etc. I don't think he would last a few days there (US prisons).

@BeerDeliveryGuy - I'm sure you're right. In the US, you really have to watch your back and keep a low profile; especially if you're a celebrity or a former cop or bounty hunter.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

this is a detention center. if he gets convicted and goes to a japanese prison.. different story.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

In my neighbourhood its „ the sound of music“ at 6am, and thats everywhere.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Is it possible to visit him? Cause I don't believe anything the media is throwing at us. Maybe he needs outsiders to tell the reality of what's going on to the outside world.

No mention of his own family or Kellys own family visiting them..

Fishy..

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"Certainly if he is able to cope with breakfasts of natto (fermented soya beans) and miso soup, things will go easier"

No cornflakes? Jeez...

"meals at the Tokyo Detention Center are great. They serve Japanese, Western, Chinese cuisine and even ethnic dishes. The soup you get every day compares favorably with what's served at lunch in cafes in Daikanyama"

Poor taxpayers.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Jandworld:

how about books?

You can read books, write notes/diary and send/receive letters.

There are so many books written about lives in detention/prison cells in Japan. If you want to know about reading books inside a Japanese detention center, check out "Gokuchuki (獄中記)" by Masaru Sato (佐藤優), a diary about reading books in Tokyo Detention Center, where Mr Ghosn is held.

https://www.amazon.co.jp/%E7%8D%84%E4%B8%AD%E8%A8%98-%E5%B2%A9%E6%B3%A2%E7%8F%BE%E4%BB%A3%E6%96%87%E5%BA%AB-%E4%BD%90%E8%97%A4-%E5%84%AA/dp/400603184X

He was one of the high profile figures (an official of Foreign Ministry of Japan) arrested and detained for a long time in the detention center. The book is composed of his diary and letters written during the time. The diary can be considered as a "How to Study" book (regardless of your environment) because he spent most of his time for reading books and writing notes.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

greed greed greed

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

that classical music is played in the detention center at the 7 a.m. wake-up call.....

how about books?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Quite frankly, it's irrelevant how he is spending his days.

Why is JT massaging this theme?

Lets do a story of the 20,000 Nissan workers laid off when Ghosn took over and how they regrouped to find new careers, and pay the bills !

Ghosn has become such a prima donna. It's nauseating!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

ScroteDec. 1  09:08 pm JST

The Japanese "justice" system has no right to impose any "duties" on people who have not even been charged with a crime and are being held under conditions which violate their constitutional rights.

Japan is a sovereign nation. Ergo it defines the rights and responsibilities of its government., just like any other democratic country.

It has a Constitution drawn up in 1947, fully defining the Civil Code and people's constitutional rights ( very similar to that of the US,btw).

And also defines it's penal code.

Individual are NOT detained randomly. The prosecution must have just cause before a person is "detained" .

In Japan people are not just pulled off the street - like in some countries - and detained or incarcerated. There must be serious allegations that meet a legal criteria for that to happen.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Kenji Fujimori, “No mention of his own family or Kellys own family visiting them..

Fishy..”

TV news has mentioned several times that family visits are not permitted at the detention facility and that He is allowed to see only his lawyers and embassy officials. And gee, if you read this article all the way to the end you will find this quote: "The only visitors he's permitted are staff from his embassy and his attorney. Telephone calls are not permitted."

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Sounds like he's got it good; good food, classical music, tea and coffee. If he were in America or some other country with blighted prison cultures, he probably wouldn't survive. Lucky him, and I guess his 10 years will go by in a breeze despite his disgraceful crimes

-9 ( +6 / -15 )

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