SNA Visible Minorities Col 6: “Carlos Ghosn’s Escape from Japan Was the Right Move”, Jan 20, 2020

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Hi Blog.  Here’s my latest column from the Shingetsu News Agency.  Enjoy.  Debito Arudou, Ph.D.

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Visible Minorities: Carlos Ghosn’s Escape from Japan Was the Right Move

SNA (Tokyo) — I have to admit more than a twinge of sympathy for Carlos Ghosn’s Great Escape.

Ghosn, the former CEO of Nissan, Mitsubishi, and Renault, was arrested in November 2018 on the initial suspicion of falsifying his compensation levels, and subjected to more than a year of Japan’s “hostage justice.” That is, he was held hostage to a judicial system that detains you until you confess to a crime, and subjects you to days, weeks, months, or conceivably even years of interrogation and tortuous conditions until you crack. Understandably, most do crack, and Japan’s conviction rate after indictment is famously more than 99%.

But as you have probably heard, at the end of December Ghosn suddenly turned up in Lebanon, one of three places he has citizenship. Out on bail in Japan, he made a daring escape that people are still trying to piece together, including man-sized musical instrument cases, an uncharacteristic lack of Japanese border security, and a mysterious visit to Lebanon’s president by Japan’s state minister for foreign affairs mere days before Ghosn jumped bail.

Ghosn is now making good on his threat to expose everything that happened to him while in custody. His multilingual press conference in Beirut two weeks ago was breathtaking to watch, full of documentation, pointed fingers, and hot-tongued accusations of the human rights denied to Japan’s incarcerated.

This has been covered exhaustively worldwide, so what more is there to say? My perspective comes as a person who also tried to change Japanese rules and practices, and found that The System similarly fought back dirty…

Rest at http://shingetsunewsagency.com/2020/01/20/visible-minorities-carlos-ghosns-escape-from-japan-was-the-right-move/

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24 comments on “SNA Visible Minorities Col 6: “Carlos Ghosn’s Escape from Japan Was the Right Move”, Jan 20, 2020

  • David Markle says:

    Here are some highlights of an article that appeared recently in the JT. It underlines the points Debito makes in his excellent AND article:

    “According to the Mainichi Shimbun, as of January 2019, there were 1,246 individuals being held in immigration detention facilities in Japan, which has no amnesty system wherein foreign nationals are allowed to stay in the country.

    This situation was illustrated in a Dec. 19 article on Harbor Business Online by Asahi Oda about a Filipino woman named Emelita, who spent more than three years in detention.

    According to the Tokyo Shimbun, as of June last year, 332 foreign nationals had disappeared while on provisional release from immigration detention, up from 96 in 2014, presumably because they feared being detained again without explanation. The big difference, however, is that many of these fugitives remain in Japan.”

    https://tinyurl.com/tl8cuxa

    Reply
    • So draconian detention is having the effect of causing more detainees to ‘disappear’ when they get out. Should cause some kind of review of a failing system, but TIJ so more likely to cause sucking of teeth and a doubling-down on a failing policy. Expect numbers to continue increasing.

      Reply
  • Good article.

    I really liked how you summarized the phenomenon of “gaslighting” that foreigner issues can be subjected to: unequal media coverage, discriminators as sympathetic underdogs, the 反日 Japan-bashing card, and “outsiders telling us what to do!” instead of equal treatment under the law.

    Reply
  • Justice Ministry completely denies the phenomenon of “hostage justice”, without any awareness of how the laws are abused by police. Naturally”

    Ministry rebuts accusations of ‘hostage justice’ in Japan
    JIJI, REUTERS, JAN 22, 2020
    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/01/22/national/crime-legal/japanese-justice-ministry-rebuts-hostage-justice-criticism/

    The Justice Ministry published explanatory information about the nation’s justice system on its website on Tuesday, rebutting international criticism of Japan’s prosecutorial approach.

    The system has been described as “hostage justice,” most particularly in the wake of former Nissan Motor Co. Chairman Carlos Ghosn’s flight from the country following his prolonged detention.

    The explanatory information is offered as 14 sets of questions and answers, and is available in both Japanese and English.

    In a question about arguments claiming Japan’s system is a form of hostage justice, the ministry said the system “does not force confessions by unduly holding suspects and defendants in custody.”

    “It is therefore not accurate at all to criticize the Japanese system as being a ‘hostage justice’ system,” the ministry added…

    Rest of the boilerplate at https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/01/22/national/crime-legal/japanese-justice-ministry-rebuts-hostage-justice-criticism/

    Link to the site in question at
    http://www.moj.go.jp/EN/hisho/kouhou/20200120enQandA.html

    Reply
    • Jim Di Griz says:

      ‘Your criminal justice system is barbaric.’
      ‘No it’s not. Stop being so unfair!’
      Yeah, great comeback. That’s gonna win people over for sure.
      Love the way every J-scandal got weeks of notice of prosecutors raids so they could shred evidence, whilst Ghosn gets locked up for over a year to stop him ‘tampering with evidence’.

      Reply
    • David Markle says:

      “Justice Ministry completely denies the phenomenon of “hostage justice”, without any awareness of how the laws are abused by police. ”

      I would hypothesize that the JM is well aware of how the police abuse the law, but are in fact powerless to do much, if anything to compel them to do what they don’t want to do. They are independent fiefdoms that operate in grudging antagonism of each other, like many entities in Japan that logically would have a superior/subservient relationship, but in fact are like a dysfunctional couple who live in the same house, but sleep in separate rooms and only interact when it is in their own interest to do so.

      — I also think there is the aspect of “doing your job” to keep crime rates nominally low. That’s a big point of nationalism in Japan. For if crime goes up, MOJ takes the fall. Hence the freer hand granted to police to keep rates low by whatever means necessary.

      Reply
      • David Markle says:

        It’s been a while since I read it, but I believe your book “Embedded Racism” has very good examples of cases regarding police abuse.
        Recommended reading.

        Reply
  • One tiny little step forward, then take two steps backward.

    Reichsfurher Aso makes yet another Nazi slogan remark and no one cares.

    As the poster Baudrillard has suggested a few times, every action in Japan is but a relationship between symbols and images. Actions and interactions without any real thought or meaning aside from “hey, its cool”, “recognize the native people’s works for good PR”.

    Then the next day everything is forgotten and back to good old nationalism of praising glorius nippon and the divine pure Japanese race while bashing NJ.

    As we can see, a possible new wave of “No Gaijin!” signs in stores is comming back with a vengence.

    https://www.newsweek.com/japanese-shop-owner-ban-chinese-tourists-coronavirus-1483420

    Even though the owner said “no chinese allowed”, he is being very vague. Basically any asian that speaks chinese will be banned, including Japanese citizens of chinese decent who can speak chinese.
    If there is anything to be learned about Japanese racists, is that they only care about race not nationality, so this sign applies even if you are American, Singaporean, simply being an asian guy who can speak chinese, whatever, the owner will kick you out if you are caught simply speaking chinese. Japan doesn’t care where you are from.

    Despite complaints the store owner has recieved, the owner is adamant on justifying his xenophobic sign based on the new SARS disease fears. An apologist also commented in the news article that it is only one store to downplay Japan’s xenophobia.

    Actually if you read the article a second time, the owner has always hated NJ and is now admiting to it and believes that he has found a good reason to put up a no gaijin sign by using the SARs epidemic as an excuse and cushion from scrutiny. The article says it is one store but I feel more “no gaijin” signs are going to show up in the future.

    Xenophobia has become something of a national sport, especially in entertainment and there are no reprucussions for it. All those anti-racist laws that where put up are all bark and no bite.

    The justice system? From analyzing the story of Carlos Ghosn, it seems as if the Japanese “justice” system is only designed to protect the powerful elite and to crush opposition instead of protecting the working class, women and minorities. Anyone not a rich powerful wajin and male with the right connections to the powerful elite are guaranteed to be screwed with this 99% conviction rate system.

    Given how swiftly Japan is at the ready to throw NJ under the bus at moments notice, I doubt these “recognize Japan as multi-racial” messages hold any meaning, just like how some J-politicians would “apologize” to its neighbors for the war and then follow up by visiting Yasukuni and supporting ultranationalists and rewriting history textbooks.

    Anyone remember the Fukushima scandal? Immediately following that is a hate-china wave where all the media suddenly turn focus on the senkaku island crisis and everyone was expecting a all out hot war. Nothing came out of that and Fukushima is forgotten, LDP PR saved from having to face scrutiny for their incompetence with the nuclear cleanup. Instead support for the far-right increased.

    Japan Inc. is in hot seat yet again now, with Carlos Ghosn free and Japan’s reputation as a fair and just democracy at stake. Instead of having to deal with criticism about its justice system, Japan can seize on China’s SARs crisis and go on a full offensive labeling NJ as dangerous and disease infested and needs to be strictly controlled.

    I would not overlook this incident as just one store not wanting NJ, it feels like yet another volcano that is ready to explode. It is all 2012 again. Knowing Japan, I find that anti-chinese/korean sentiments almost always comes in waves and never just one incident.Just check some of the online comments on Japanese news site or go to some public area and “read the air” as they say. anti-chinese sentiment is now the talk of town again.

    Historically speaking, anti-chinese/anti-korean sentiment is always cool and hip collective activity and sport. To this day this hasn’t changed one bit as it is very ingrained into the culture itself. Subconcious loose lips always revel the true colors of the racist.

    Like this example where a group of J-nationalists show up to protest a comfort women monument.
    https://apjjf.org/2019/20/McNeill.html

    Short moments ago, Carlos Ghosn was a hot topic in NJ media, its SARs from China broadcasted all over the news. Will Carlos Ghosn still have an audience next week?

    I have a feeling that Japan’s North Korean style justice system will be swept under the rug and become forgotten just like with Fukushima. What terrible timing of things, it seems Lady Luck is always on the side of the corrupt elites of Japan.

    Reply
  • AnonymousOG says:

    Jan 11: Mr. Ghosn’s former lawyer
    (Mr. Takashi Takano) shows us the
    303 hours lawyer-less interrogation:

    2018/11/19 – 2hours 16m
    2018/11/21 – 2hours 13m
    2018/11/22 – 7hours 43m
    2018/11/23 – 6hours 18m
    2018/11/24 – 7hours 6m
    2018/11/25 – 7hours 6m
    2018/11/26 – 6hours 3m
    2018/11/27 – 7hours 45m
    2018/11/28 – 6hours 12m
    2018/11/29 – 7hours 22m
    2018/11/30 – 5hours 18m
    2018/12/1 – 6hours 52m
    2018/12/2 – 6hours 31m
    2018/12/3 – 7hours 31m
    2018/12/4 – 4hours 52m
    2018/12/5 – 6hours 9m
    2018/12/8 – 6hours 35m
    2018/12/9 – 7hours 36m
    2018/12/10 – 6hours 9m
    2018/12/11 – 1hour 53m
    2018/12/12 – 7hours
    2018/12/13 – 7hours 5m
    2018/12/14 – 7hours 46m
    2018/12/15 – 6hours 33m
    2018/12/16 – 7hours 11m
    2018/12/17 – 6hours 21m
    2018/12/18 – 6hours 3m
    2018/12/19 – 7hours 34m
    2018/12/22 – 6hours 51m
    2018/12/23 – 2hours 54m
    2018/12/24 – 6hours 31m
    2018/12/25 – 7hours 54m
    2018/12/26 – 7hours 7m
    2018/12/27 – 4hours 58m
    2018/12/31 – 2hours 58m
    2019/1/1 – 7hours 2m
    2019/1/2 – 6hours 32m
    2019/1/3 – 7hours 31m
    2019/1/5 – 6hours 49m
    2019/1/7 – 7hours 15m
    2019/1/8 – 7hours 1m
    2019/1/11 – 48minutes
    2019/4/5 – 1hour 50m
    2019/4/6 – 6hours
    2019/4/8 – 3hours
    2019/4/12 – 7hours 30m
    2019/4/16 – 6hours 10m
    2019/4/17 – 7hours 30m
    2019/4/19 – 6hours
    2019/4/20 – 7hours 45m

    http://archive.is/3yLes

    Japan: 303 hours lawyer-less interrogation.

    Hat tip to u/Lations & u/Wolframite for the link. 🙂

    Reply
    • Looks like 8 hours a day is the limit they should stay below.
      They questioned him the longest on Dec 25th, Christmas day, and for anyone who knows Japanese psyche, that was no accident. Yes, they wanted to make Christmas day as bad as possible for him because they are bullies.

      Reply
    • TJJ wrote:
      “Looks like 8 hours a day is the limit … ”

      Wow, I made a major mistake above, sorry about that, I’ll correct it right now:

      There were actually twenty days of MORE-than-8-hours-a-day lawyer-less interrogation!

      (For some strange unknown reason those very important twenty days became invisible during the copying and pasting process.)

      So folks, here’s the even-worse-than-thought correct report of reality:

      Jan 11: Mr. Ghosn’s former lawyer
      (Mr. Takashi Takano) shows us the
      *483* hours lawyer-less interrogation:

      2018/11/19 – 2hours 16m
      2018/11/20 – 8hours 3m <—–
      2018/11/21 – 2hours 13m
      2018/11/22 – 7hours 43m
      2018/11/23 – 6hours 18m
      2018/11/24 – 7hours 6m
      2018/11/25 – 7hours 6m
      2018/11/26 – 6hours 3m
      2018/11/27 – 7hours 45m
      2018/11/28 – 6hours 12m
      2018/11/29 – 7hours 22m
      2018/11/30 – 5hours 18m
      2018/12/1 – 6hours 52m
      2018/12/2 – 6hours 31m
      2018/12/3 – 7hours 31m
      2018/12/4 – 4hours 52m
      2018/12/5 – 6hours 9m
      2018/12/6 – 11hours 43m <—–
      2018/12/7 – 8hours 43m <—–
      2018/12/8 – 6hours 35m
      2018/12/9 – 7hours 36m
      2018/12/10 – 6hours 9m
      2018/12/11 – 1hour 53m
      2018/12/12 – 7hours
      2018/12/13 – 7hours 5m
      2018/12/14 – 7hours 46m
      2018/12/15 – 6hours 33m
      2018/12/16 – 7hours 11m
      2018/12/17 – 6hours 21m
      2018/12/18 – 6hours 3m
      2018/12/19 – 7hours 34m
      2018/12/20 – 12hours 18m <—–
      2018/12/21 – 9hours 37m <—–
      2018/12/22 – 6hours 51m
      2018/12/23 – 2hours 54m
      2018/12/24 – 6hours 31m
      2018/12/25 – 7hours 54m
      2018/12/26 – 7hours 7m
      2018/12/27 – 4hours 58m
      2018/12/28 – 8hours 55m <—–
      2018/12/29 – 8hours 14m <—–
      2018/12/30 – 8hours <—–
      2018/12/31 – 2hours 58m
      2019/1/1 – 7hours 2m
      2019/1/2 – 6hours 32m
      2019/1/3 – 7hours 31m
      2019/1/4 – 8hours 46m <—–
      2019/1/5 – 6hours 49m
      2019/1/6 – 8hours 5m <—–
      2019/1/7 – 7hours 15m
      2019/1/8 – 7hours 1m
      2019/1/9 – 8hours 46m <—–
      2019/1/11 – 48minutes
      2019/4/5 – 1hour 50m
      2019/4/6 – 6hours
      2019/4/7 – 8hours <—–
      2019/4/8 – 3hours
      2019/4/9 – 8hours <—–
      2019/4/10 – 8hours 20m <—–
      2019/4/11 – 8hours 10m <—–
      2019/4/12 – 7hours 30m
      2019/4/13 – 8hours 15m <—–
      2019/4/14 – 11hours <—–
      2019/4/15 – 8hours 30m <—–
      2019/4/16 – 6hours 10m
      2019/4/17 – 7hours 30m
      2019/4/18 – 8hours <—–
      2019/4/19 – 6hours
      2019/4/20 – 7hours 45m
      2019/4/21 – 10hours 30m <—–

      http://archive.is/3yLes

      Japan: *483* hours lawyer-less interrogation.

      Hat tip to u/Lations & u/Wolframite for the link. 🙂

      Reply
  • David Markle says:

    CNBC interview with Carole and Carlos Ghosn
    “You are risking your life”
    To CEO s but applies to all N.J. in Japan

    “I’m saying get out,” said Ghosn. “If you have the risk of having a problem with your colleague or with your partners, you can be set up, and if you’re set up nobody is gonna save you.”

    https://tinyurl.com/wnqav3h

    Reply
  • David Markle says:

    I can give you an example of how this can happen even with somebody you don’t even know. Several years ago I moved into a new neighborhood and one of the neighbors didn’t like the fact that a mixed marriage family moved in near him. One day I get a call from the local police telling me that so and so has accused me of breaking into his house and assaulting him and his wife is a witness. I deny anything of this. A few days went by and the police call to tell me that they did an investigation. I don’t know if they actually did anything, but they tell me that his wife decided to recant her witness story, but he still maintains it happened. They say to just forget it as they are not going to pursue it.

    This turns into a case of the cops lack of interest in pursuing real or imagined crimes being to my advantage, but it easily could have gone a bad direction if they felt vindictive against foreigners. Or if he had gone directly to the prosecutors which he was obviously not aware of.

    Reply
    • In most countries it is a crime to make a false accusation against someone with the intent of having them investigated by the police. But not in Japan where bullies rule.

      Reply
      • TJJ, both your comments on this today are spot-on; it’s a bullying culture. It’s totally endemic at every level of Japanese society.
        I (still) blame it on a Confucian world view that forces all interaction into vertical power relationships and denies ‘win-win’ outcomes for ‘win-lose’ zero-sum games. It makes interactions in Japan tedious, bothersome and best avoided.
        Explains the hikikomori phenomena and the suicide rate.

        Reply
      • David Markle says:

        It is a crime to make false accusations to the police in Japan. HOWEVER, in Japan it is up to the police to decide whether the accusation was made with the intent to harass. In my case we were having issues with this neighbor over an access road to my property that went over his property. His MOA was to call the police in ANY dispute with a neighbor. He did it to several others over things like trees that were cut, property line disputes, buildings that were put up near a property line, electric pole rights payments, and so on. The police were well aware of his “methods” but never did anything except maybe a verbal warning or two, if that.

        The point is anyone can be accused of some criminal action and have to defend themselves but NJ are coming to bat blindfolded with one hand behind their back.

        Reply
  • “Japan’s Justice Minister Mori vows she will never give up on bringing Ghosn to justice.”

    https://tinyurl.com/srp8gu8

    Well, well, poor little girl. Something about this woman bothers me greatly. If she is so sure of her case against Ghosn, why doesn’t she take her crack team of legal bureaucrats to Lebanon and file a case there? The reason is she only plays on fields where she has all the advantages, gets to write the rules, call all the shots, and is on her home court with all the fans cheering her on. Could it be the fake sense of self-righteousness? Maybe she thinks she is channeling Golda Meir, and has plans for a Japanese Mossad/Entebbi airport type operation to bring the evil foreigners to divine justice. hmph!

    Reply
  • Not only that, semes like some Nissan execs want
    to get close and personal with Ghosn. Now the
    rulers of Japan Inc are taking the extra step making it their mission to punish any NJ that dares to stand up to them and using Carlos Ghosn to send a bold stern warning to NJ.

    Nissan sues Ghosn in Japan, seeks ¥10 billion in damages

    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/02/12/business/corporate-business/nissan-sues-ghosn-japan-seeks-%C2%A510-billion-damages/

    Gut instinct also tells me that this Japan Inc. wasn’t too happy with Woodford’s whistleblowing of Olympus and walking away so Nissan probably wants to send a stronger message against NJ “dissidents” of the J-corporate system.

    Little by little, I find Japan’s xenophobia getting more hot headed, more emboldened, and being less reserved about it than they used to.

    LDP getting trying to get enough peope to rile against NJ and to volunterly support eventual constitution change somehow? I wouldn’t hold my breath on the J-public to be able to protect the peace constitution, it is only a matter of when not if.

    Reply
    • It could very well be that.
      Or it could just be that in the same way many Japanese individuals can’t handle disagreements and get butt-hurt and resort to all sorts of deflection and whataboutery on a larger scale? Nissan and Japanese prosecutors refuse to accept any of the questions about their own perceived failings in this case and continually throw out barely related accusations and insinuations like the kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. It’s just childish indignant deflection combined with a stalker like impotent desire for some kind of revenge. They can’t ‘let it lie’, the other party just HAS to be wrong! Can’t accept anything less than a win-lose outcome in the land of vertical hierarchies, even if that pushes them (again!) into a lose-lose outcome. Relations with S. Korea are a prime example; someone ‘has’ to lose and someone has to win! I think the Japanese believe that win-win outcomes only means that you ‘lost’, you just don’t understand how yet.

      Reply
    • David Markle says:

      They hope to take judgements from Japan courts abroad for collection in foreign jurisdictions, based on some treaties they have with a group of western powers, however; this is a two way street, and when they find that out, it might not go the way they hope.

      Reply
  • David Markle says:

    Japan Minister in Lebanon To Seek Return of Fugitive Ghosn

    https://tinyurl.com/s4v9ns3

    “He said he’d explained Tokyo’s views on Ghosns’ flight from Japan and was “able to gain understanding of the Lebanese government.” He said Tokyo and Beirut have “agreed to cooperate with each other,” but did not elaborate on the extent of that cooperation.”

    So Mori dispatched one of her agents to “explain” the Japanese justice system to Lebanon. I thought foreigners were incapable of understanding anything of Japan. This should read: ‘Japan dispatched backchannel sales agent to inquire how much it might cost to get Lebanon to send Ghosn  back for divine justice. “We know how much trouble your country is in so, we are more than willing to make a show of support to the distinguished government of your fine country…blah, blah, wink, wink.
    Why don’t we start with a percentage of the bond Ghosn forfeited?” ‘

    I don’t understand why these sort of articles are even excreted when they are such blatant hogwash.

    Reply

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