Japan Formally Asks Lebanon to Cooperate over Ghosn Case


Beirut, Jan. 7 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Ambassador to Lebanon Takeshi Okubo at a meeting with Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Tuesday formally sought the Middle East country's cooperation in looking into former Nissan Motor Co. <7201> Chairman Carlos Ghosn's escape to Lebanon from Japan.

It is very regrettable that Ghosn left Japan illegally, Okubo said at the meeting, held at the presidential office in a suburb of Beirut. Japan can never tolerate this, he added. Ghosn, who has been indicted by Tokyo public prosecutors for a series of alleged financial misconduct, fled Japan to Lebanon late last month while he was on bail ahead of his trial.

Aoun showed readiness to offer full cooperation, saying that Lebanon attaches importance to relations with Japan. But he added that the Lebanese government was not involved in Ghosn's escape at all. The meeting was held at the request of Japan.

Acting on a request from Japan, Interpol has issued a wanted notice calling for the seizure of Ghosn. But Lebanon and Japan have no extradition treaty. As Lebanon's domestic law bans the handovers of its citizens to foreign governments, the government of Lebanon has repeatedly shown its stance of rejecting Japan's request for transferring Ghosn, who has Lebanese citizenship, back to the country.

Despite Aoun's denial, the Lebanese government is thought by some to have played a role in Ghosn's escape from Japan. Ghosn and Aoun, both Maronite Christians, are known to have a close relationship.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press