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AmerAsia Report

The Jungle Roars - Ghosn is Gone

AmerAsia Headquarters - January 15, 2020

The Tokyo Police should have arrested Carlos Ghosn. The Tokyo police can be trusted.

“Lebanon will carry out its duties,” stated Lebanese Justice Minister Albert Serhan.(1) We are a country of law and respect the law and . . . I can confirm that the Lebanese state will implement the law.”

Japanese Finance Minister Masako Mori said, replying to a question about Lebanon and Carlos Ghosn, It is indeed possible to ask for extradition of criminals based on the principle of reciprocity . . . But, upon doing that, we need to carefully study whether it is possible to guarantee this principle of reciprocity and their internal justice system.” (2)

Junichiro Hironaka, attorney for Ghosn, commented on his client and the Japanese legal system, stating, “Maybe he thought he won’t get a fair trial . . . I can’t blame him for thinking that way.” (3)

Each of the parties implies the other’s Rule of Law is suspect and that its own particular cultural history informs and determines the best definition of “Law”. Tokyo prosecutors assert, “Ghosn had only himself to blame and was deemed a high-profile risk, which is obvious from the fact he actually fled,”(4) increases distrust between Japanese and Lebanese judiciaries. Distrust prevents the Principle of Reciprocity from operating effectively. International legal standards (vis-a-vis the legal construct, Principle of Reciprocity) are critical to global growth and vital, especially now, to Mr. Ghosn, Lebanon, Japan and Nissan. The cost of two judicial systems’ failing to engage in proactive and direct dialogue is painfully obvious, risking the viability of this critical international legal standard; Principle of Reciprocity.

As the presiding jurisdiction, Japan will have its court decision. Mr. Ghosn will, either, be extradited for trial and convicted, or he will be convicted in absentia and extradited for incarceration in Japan (boasting a 99% conviction rate and a police force that “doesn’t make mistakes.”(5)) Lebanon has a choice to make regarding risks for compliance and rejection, alike. However, the Principle of Reciprocity can solve this thorny problem for both Japan and Lebanon. The Principle of Reciprocity has two main forms, de facto and de jure.

De facto reciprocity means case precedent(s) exists between the foreign judiciaries, establishing a history of reciprocity after the fact. De jure reciprocity requires advance review, analysis and agreement between the judiciaries, affirming the two legal systems share common values and practices sufficient in establishing Principle of Reciprocity de jure status. In both scenarios, judges in reciprocal foreign jurisdictions must recognize and enforce judgments by the other foreign country against its own citizens and corporations; impartial laws over emotional bias. Such is the demand of Japan on Lebanon today. According to Mr. Ghosn, “I didn’t run from justice, I left Japan because I wanted justice”(6). But is the Japan Judiciary unjust, really?

Let’s look at an example of Japanese justice. A Young Professional, in Tokyo on business, left an important day of deal-making events, joining executive management for dinner at the top of the Park Hyatt Tokyo, New York Grill; so named, as you can almost see NYC from this 52nd floor Tokyo skyline restaurant (made famous by Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson in the classic movie, “Lost in Translation”). In reality, the Young Professional listened to executive management passionately explaining why valueless stock options were far greater compensation than cash due the Young Professional. Later in the Golden Gai district, counting the pluses and minuses of trading lots of cash for valueless stock options, the Young Professional became the target of significant blowback inside a Golden Gai ramshackle grille filled with passionate, orating, shrill throats protesting in Japanese to the Young Professional. The Tokyo Police were summoned, and the Young Professional was placed in a cell, interrogated, and released by sunrise. Luckily for the Young Professional, only the police were involved -- not the Prosecutors Office who effected the arrest on Mr. Ghosn. Also, no national brands, multinational corporations, or corporate power struggles between jealous rivals complicit in global hegemony. Just basic right from wrong for the Japanese enforcement system, the Tokyo Police, who were truly perfect and mistake free that event.

The Principle of Reciprocity is governed by equality, fairness, integrity, reciprocity, respect, and comity. In either its de facto or de jure forms, the Principle of Reciprocity does not appear to exist between Japan and Lebanon today. Japan is demanding a lot, expecting de facto reciprocity in the absence of de jure reciprocity. Japan and Lebanon have no de facto or de jure bilateral Principle of Reciprocity relations anywhere, like most of the world. This can and should change, using a 21st century bilateral mechanism reflecting the values of the direct stakeholders, people – business – governments, and the global Principle of Reciprocity we all must maintain and respect across borders.

Nations are negotiating immigration, trade, security and livelihoods. Our national judiciaries need to experience the same joy and success working across borders, building a better and more just world for all countries and citizens (while retaining domestic sovereignty and legal rights internationally). Japan and Lebanon are two very different nations; one fully developed, the other aspirational. Both countries and the world’s judiciaries are in need of the Principle of Reciprocity. The Jungle Roars – Ghosn is gone.

Footnotes:

(1) 1/2/20, Associated Press, “Lebanon receives Interpol notice for ex-Nissan fugitive” By BASSEM MROUE and AJ NADDAFF

(2) 1/6/20, Associate Press, “Japan vows to improve border checks, bail after Ghosn escape” By YURI KAGEYAMA.

(3) 12/31/19, Associated Press, “A daring escape: Ex-Nissan chief flees Japan ahead of trial” By YURI KAGEYAMA and SARAH EL DEEB

(4) 1/9/20, Associated Press, “Fugitive Ghosn brings global attention to Japanese justice” By YURI KAGEYAMA

(5) 1/9/20, Associated Press, “Fugitive Ghosn brings global attention to Japanese justice” By YURI KAGEYAMA

(6) 1/9/20, Associated Press, “Fugitive Ghosn brings global attention to Japanese justice” written BY YURI KAGEYAMA.

 

The Jungle Roars – Ghosn is Gone, written by Todd King, is part of an occasional series, “Jungle Law”, published in support of the Principle of Reciprocity across international jurisdictions and borders.

Todd King is CEO & Founder AmerAsia Company(s) | Reciprocity Project Curator

Michael S. Meyer, Editor