Auto executive Carlos Ghosn, who was once credited as the man who rescued Nissan Motor Co from failure, was arrested in November 2018 on suspicion of financial misconduct. He spent a good part of 2019 under detention while undergoing protracted interrogation by prosecutors.
Then in a meticulously arranged caper on Dec 30, 2019 that would do credit to a Latin American drug lord, Ghosn fled Japan aboard a private jet to Lebanon -- one of three countries in which he holds citizenship. (The other two are France and Brazil.)
Lebanon is unlikely to accept Japan's demand for Ghosn's extradition, but in any event Lebanese authorities have banned the fugitive 65-year-old businessman from leaving the country after Interpol issued a red notice for his arrest.
"Ghosn's escape was orchestrated according to the manual of a civilian military contractor based in Massachusetts," a reporter on the international desk of a major newspaper tells Shukan Taishu (March 2-9). "A team of 10 people were involved, two of whom were former Green Berets."
In other words, Ghosn pulled off his escape from Japan using the same type of mercenaries hired to battle terrorists in third-world countries and rescue hostages.
Ghosn's escape from Japan may have other repercussions, since it exposed the country's weaknesses in the dealing with extradition of criminal suspects. "Countries in which fugitives from Japan may safely go to avoid extradition are widely known. If this problem is not addressed, the day may soon come when they become 'havens for terrorists,'" Shigeru Ishiba, a former minster of defense, and who is considered an authority on national security, was quoted as saying.
"Ghosn is believed to have been concealed in a large case used for musical instruments, which was slipped past the security check at Kansai International Airport, and flown abroad in a private jet," said a source in the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department. "It appears the caper was planned that way after the foreign security operatives identified a blind spot in the airport's security."
Actually, Shukan Taishu's writer asserts, it could just as easily have been Haneda or Narita, since security is lax at both of Tokyo's main international airports.
"It's easy to slip through security checks, what they call suri-nuke (to give someone the slip), the source continued. "The fact is, the airport staff are too lenient toward passengers. They should be more wary. Since Japan has little experience in attacks from terrorists, you could say it gets away with slipshod security."
It is expected that this year, more than 35 million foreign tourists will enter Japan.
"Using the Olympics as cover, it's entirely possible that groups like al-Qaida and so on may plan attacks," the police source added. "I suppose the ease with which Ghosn made his escape may have helped convince them to start planning some sort of attack."
Happily, the Shukan Taishu article does not go into specifics concerning the alleged porosity of Japan's points of entry and exit. Which is just as well we suppose, since anyone who lays out 460 yen for a copy of the magazine would have access to such information.© Japan Today