March 6, 2019 – Former Nissan Motor Co. Chairman Carlos Ghosn has welcomed a court decision allowing him to be released on bail, but some people connected with the automaker and public prosecutors have expressed wariness about the actions he will take after his release.
The Tokyo District Court decision on March 5 to release Ghosn on ¥1 billion bail came 107 days after his arrest on allegations of financial misconduct. The court set strict conditions on his release, including having the entrance of his home monitored with a security camera and restrictions on his use of the internet.
“The conditions are extremely tough, so it will be both difficult for him and his lawyers, but it’s good that we were able to quickly secure his release on bail,” Ghosn’s lawyer Junichiro Hironaka told reporters in front of his office in Tokyo shortly after 1:30 p.m. on March 5.
Hironaka said that when he explained to Ghosn the conditions for his release, the former chairman was surprised and appeared disgruntled. However, he added that Ghosn was “extremely happy” about the decision to grant bail.
Ghosn, 64, has been indicted on charges of violating the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act and the Companies Act (aggravated breach of trust) by the special investigative unit of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office.
Outside Nissan’s headquarters near JR Yokohama Station in Kanagawa Prefecture, neighboring Tokyo, one male worker in his 50s said he wanted the case to be resolved quickly. “Trouble is still being caused on the retail scene and for customers,” the worker said.
Another worker in his 60s said he continues to respect Ghosn.
“I still believe about 10 percent that he might be innocent. I want the former chairman to speak the truth,” the worker said.
The request for bail granted by the Tokyo District Court was the third since Ghosn’s arrest on Nov. 19, 2018. Public prosecutors had called for the court to reject his requests to be released on bail, and were surprised that it granted the latest one as the pre-trial procedures for narrowing down evidence and the points of contention had yet to begin. As arrangements over the points of contention had not moved forward since the previous request, prosecutors had anticipated that the bail request would not be granted.
One senior prosecutor said the court’s decision was based too heavily on the theory of the “fundamental good” of human nature.
“Even if there is a security camera, it only records people’s movements, and if he wanted to, he could go to any length in coordinating his story with other related parties. I guess they lost out to criticism over his long time in detention.”