The flight by Nissan ex-chairman, Carlos Ghosn (not in a double bass case as first reported) was excellent news. Why? Because Japan purports to be a modern nation but runs a disgraceful so-called justice system, epitomised by its abominable treatment of Ghosn who was charged with relatively petty crimes.

Ghosn’s exit was organised by a private quasi-military security outfit, a high growth industry with no shortage of clients, both states and individuals. Now he’s in Lebanon which in happier circumstances would be an immensely more desirable location than quiet and to me, rather boring Japan.

Unfortunately, one must go back to the 1970s before the civil war broke out, when Lebanon was widely seen as a highly appealing place to live.

I first went there in 1968, culminating along with my two mates, being booted out by the army via a military escort, each of us in separate armoured cars driving to the airport. This was for causing a riot which certainly wasn’t our fault. I was shoved on a plane to (then) Persia and my two mates were sent to (then) Burma. They were certainly fun pre-mass tourism days when travelling. I was last there about 12 years ago when I drove in from Syria and had troubles from the brain-dead military at the border. The usual resolution formula, namely a tantrum, yielded a quick response. A senior officer appeared and pointed out the problem, specifically a Laos visa stamp in my passport. The following exchanged occurred. “Israel”, he barked accusingly, pointing at the offending stamp.

Another tantrum from me produced a second attempt.

“Ah; in Africa?”, he asked.
“Right”, I declared and with back-patting all round I was welcomed in.

That said, It’s a marvellous country with the Arab world’s prettiest girls but sadly with 1.5 million, Syrian refugees incurring a cost of NZ $6 billion annually, it’s now in deep economic trouble, thus the recent street protests.

At Japan’s request Interpol have served a notice on Lebanon to deliver up Ghosn, which it’s not obliged to act on. However, should they do so they’ll doubtless forewarn Ghosn, so where to next for him? My pick is they won’t as unlike say much of Africa they’re not beholden to Japan.

Japan’s well-deserved reputation as an honest democracy, alone with Singapore and Taiwan in Asia, a region currently bespoilt by authoritarian governments, is hugely marred by it’s rotten criminal justice system. The treatment Ghosn received was both typical and appalling and should be a wake-up call for reform.


One Comment

Little examination of this perspective in the daily papers…quelle surprise.

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