TodayApril 15, 2022

Japan, Carlos Ghosn and Alberto Fujimori

What do Carlos Ghosn and Alberto Fujimori have in common? 

Both are/were fugitives from the country they were accused of wrongdoing. 

Japan will be walking a tightrope in the next couple of weeks. As much as the Japanese prosecutors will want to be indignant about Ghosn fleeing the country to Lebanon, they must know that people will be looking at how Japan has handled Japanese fugitives coming home to Japan

What can Carlos Ghosn learn from Alberto Fujimori?

The most we can say about Alberto Fujimori’s citizenship to Japan is that he is of Japanese descent. Whether he was born in Japan or Peru has been hotly contested. In order to run for the President of Peru, he would need to meet the requirement that you have to be born in Peru to run. It was probably the first birther challenge known, well before Donald Trump questioned Barack Obama’s nationality. All that aside, Fujimori ran and won as President of Peru from 1990 to 2000.

Japanese descent Fujimori enjoyed some of the same celebrity statuses in Peru, as Ghosn did in Japan. Both were seen as turnaround celebrities for their respective countries. 

While Ghosn fled Japan for allegedly various financial misconduct allegations, Fujimori’s path was more scandalous. Yet, Japan took him in and kept him from being deported back to Peru. 

Fujimori ended his presidency by fleeing Peru for his homeland of Japan amid corruption and human rights violations. It was not until the Peruvian of Japanese descent visited China in 2005 that the Peruvians were able to extradite him to Peru. He was found guilty of murder, bodily harm, two cases of kidnapping, embezzlement, and bribery.

The President of Peru tried to grant Fujimori a pardon, but that was squashed by the Supreme Court and later annulled. 

Can Ghosn travel? 

Ghosn could travel because Japan only has extradition treaties with South Korea and the U.S… However, if Ghosn were to visit another country, there is the possibility he could be arrested and flown through one of those countries. Ghosn would be smart to live out his life in exile. 

Will Lebanon embrace Ghosn? 

The biggest lesson Ghosn can learn from this is never to leave Lebanon. He needs to make nice with Lebanon, and all of its political parties. He will be able to work with all political parties because they all know he can’t run for office. If he becomes the beacon of hope for a Lebanese economic comeback and stability through all his contacts globally, he will have a greater chance of staying alive and out of jail. 

Fujimori is currently back in prison, completing what remains of his 25-year sentence. 

Lou Ann Hammond

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a founding member of the Women's World Car of the Year #WWCOTY, and board member of the Women in Automotive.

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