TOKYO, Jan. 6 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Justice Minister Masako Mori on Monday repeatedly maintained that former Nissan Motor chairman Carlos Ghosn jumping bail and fleeing Japan's justice system was illegal.
Former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn (File photo: AFP)
Mori told a press conference on the matter that Ghosn, who was facing trial in Japan for alleged financial misconduct, but fled the country to Lebanon via Turkey, did so illegally.
"Leaving without going through proper embarkation procedures and using unauthorized means comprise a crime of illegal departure," Mori told a press conference in Tokyo, while declining to mention details of his escape, which may have involved trained accomplices.
In the first such press conference since Ghosn skipped bail, Mori refuted his claims of a "rigged justice system" here, stating that Japan's justice system "ensures basic human rights" and is operated appropriately.
"This is an issue separate from his illegal departure from Japan," she added.
She was referring to a statement issued by Ghosn's U.S. representative in which the ex-Nissan chief said: "I am now in Lebanon and will no longer be held hostage by a rigged Japanese justice system."
"Guilt is presumed, discrimination is rampant, and basic human rights are denied," Ghosn, whose trial was expected to begin here in April, said.
The 65-year-old ex-auto tycoon was initially arrested more than a year ago by Japanese prosecutors.
Ghosn, who holds Brazilian, French and Lebanese nationality, was accused of under-reporting his remuneration for years and for embezzling company funds. He has denied all the charges, claiming company insiders conspired against him.
He was released on bail in April on strict conditions that included a ban on foreign travel, limited access to telephones and computers and restricted to a surveilled residence.