FT: “Japan open to justice reform following Carlos Ghosn affair”

Robin Harding, Kana Inagaki and Leo Lewis in a rare interview with Masako Mori, the justice minister (paywall):

In a rare interview with a part of the Japanese government that seldom sees any need to justify itself to foreigners, Ms Mori said Mr Ghosn was spreading misinformation about Japan’s legal system in an effort to court public sympathy and distract from the charges against him — which he has denied. She made clear that Japan would only change on its own terms and not if it threatens the country’s low crime rate.

“Our criminal justice system is suitably designed and suitably operated. But like any other country, it is not 100 per cent perfect and without fault,” said Ms Mori. “I truly want you to trust me when I say that if there are faults we will fix them, openly and above board.”

For a view from the other side of the spectrum: Debito Arudou wrote a scathing column in The Japan Times recounting modern racism in Japan in the past year, with Ghosn’s prosecution at the epicenter for the overview:

Last year, it became clear that the crimes that Ghosn is accused of (underreporting income for tax purposes) were reportedly not only being done for years by other companies, but even by Ghosn’s replacement, Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa. So far the only ones arrested have been the foreigners: Ghosn and his associate, Greg Kelly.

After being denied contact with his wife for months and his trial possibly pushed to 2021. Ghosn somehow managed to escape to Lebanon at the end of 2019. Now, with more media access without threat of arrest, he is in a good position to further expose how Japan’s criminal justice system violates human rights, especially for non-Japanese.

In his Hollywood-esque press conference in Lebanon earlier this month, Ghosn stopped short of naming anyone in the Japanese government who wanted to bring him down.

So while we might have to wait and see whether he is in a nationalist conspiracy, the fact remains that when things go bad when you’re a gaikokujin in Japan, things go real bad.