Japan in Their Own Words (JITOW)/日本からの意見

A Lax Japan Spoiled Defendant Ghosn
CHINO Keiko / Journalist

March 10, 2020
The escape of the defendant and Nissan’s ex-boss Carlos Ghosn was such a frustrating affair. After all, the man who’d received the accolade of ‘The Savior of Nissan’ actually appears to be full of self-protection, self-interest and arrogance.

In the wake of this event, I realised again the weakness of Japan. Spoiled by Japanese indulgence and feeling so full of himself, the fugitive took a parting shot. Of course, he deserves a lot of criticism but Japan should also be blamed for allowing him to do what he has done. This adds to my frustration.

Representing the weak Japan is the justice system. Meng Wanzhou, the Deputy Chairwoman of China’s Huawei was detained in Canada and forced to wear a GPS ankle bracelet. This is astoundingly different from the Japanese courts that didn’t force him to wear one, something which is now standard in the West. What’s more, they allowed Ghosn to retain his passport under the condition that he store it in a lockbox. This is laughable. If judges seriously believed that he would not break the lock, they are so detached from reality.

Foreign residents in Japan have to carry their passport, but this can be solved by the issuance of an alternative identification. With Ghosn, a special arrangement in which the strength of his name and face can work as an identification paper maybe possible as well.

In terms of the lawyers who failed to oversee the defendant, I cannot help but suspect their willful negligence rather than their softness on him.

The decision on the amount of 1.5 billion yen for bail was too lenient as well. It is said that the prosecutors demanded 10 billion yen. Even with a 10 billion-yen bail, he may still have escaped, but considering that bail becomes national revenue when forfeit, 1.5 billion yen and 10 billion yen make a big difference.

Having condoned the smuggling out of Ghosn, Kansai International Airport is careless enough, but the bigger problem here is that the airport is not the only one that has been lax.

The worst is that no one apologizes or takes responsibility after all these mistakes. Further, no one seems to question it, either. In a manner of speaking, for everyone, this is someone else’s problem. The media also have become apathetic.

Having said that, it is no use crying over spilt milk and I should stop lamenting. It should be time that Japan became more relentless in retaliating.

First Japan should thoroughly identify Ghosn’s selfish argument, inaccuracies and contradictions in his self-justification, and seek to communicate them abroad via selected overseas media. Bilingual broadcasting in English and Arabic on Al Jazeera which is the leading channel in the Middle East where Ghosn has fled, can be one such choice.

It’s been pointed out that Japan is lagging behind in information dissemination and strategic communication abroad. Hopefully, the Ghosn case will be an opportunity for Japan to test its mettle.

To fight fire with fire, it may be worth considering creating an animation, which is one of Japan’s specialties, with the title ‘Ghosn: The True Story’ before Hollywood makes a movie about him.

Of course, a radical reform of the judicial system should be initiated on this occasion for Japan itself, not for other countries. There are quite a few Japanese people who think this is necessary.

Not limited to the case of Ghosn’s escape it is the characteristic of Japan, the softhearted nation that it is actually full of holes, while it looks strict about everything at first glance. It’s said that there’s no exact translation for the Japanese word amaeru (taking the softness of others for granted) in any other language. This has been established over a long period of time in the Japanese culture and history, and therefore, this cannot be changed overnight. Moreover, softness also has a positive aspect. In one way, softness has helped form a kind and considerate society here. However, Japan should be fully aware that there is a risk of its softness becoming a weakness, as people with different sets of values coexist while people, goods and money move freely around the word today.

In cooking, a pinch of salt is often used to accentuate sweetness. What this softhearted nation needs is to take a stern response which would make Ghosn regret having dismissed Japan as being powerless.

Chino Keiko is a freelance journalist and Guest Columnist of the Sankei Shimbun.

The English-Speaking Union of Japan

千野 境子 / ジャーナリスト

2020年 3月 10日









毒には毒を。ハリウッド映画に先んじて、ゴーンのtrue storyとでも銘打って日本ならではのアニメ制作も一考に値する。




一般社団法人 日本英語交流連盟

English Speaking Union of Japan > Japan in Their Own Words (JITOW) > A Lax Japan Spoiled Defendant Ghosn