Jim Armitage: Carlos Ghosn — a trivial case which highlights Japanese injusticeComments Off on Jim Armitage: Carlos Ghosn — a trivial case which highlights Japanese injustice
Japanese prosecutors must be squirming. For nearly two months, they have held Carlos Ghosn in a miserable jail cell without proper charges in an utter travesty of civilised justice.
They can do this because of a legal system which allows them to hold suspects for a seemingly unlimited time, as long as they tweak their line of enquiry every now and again. That is how they achieve their 99% conviction rate — most suspects confess just to get bail.
But Ghosn — their highest-profile target in years — isn’t playing ball. Rather than meekly tell them what they want to hear, he protests his innocence.
Today, out of his prison for the first time since November, albeit manacled and led by a rope, he told a judge he had been “wrongly accused and unfairly detained”.
The latter is undeniable, the former should be tested in open court instead of being leaked to the media in one-sided character assassination.
Ghosn says the allegation that he hid part of his salary in the form of deferred pay into his retirement pot is totally wrong, as the plan was reviewed by external and internal lawyers at Nissan. Another alleged crime — that he got Nissan to bear the risk of a personal investment — merely related to a hedge taken because he preferred to be paid in dollars rather than yen.
Apologies if such details seem trivial — but from what we can see so far, Ghosn’s alleged infringements are trivial. He’s been forced into a surreal pinhead dance on issues that would barely excite the most wonkish of corporate governance obsessives. Civil transgressions, maybe. Crimes deserving incarceration — never.
Journalist Jake Adelstein, a Japan specialist, recently wrote about an interview he’d done with former prosecutor Hiroshi Ishikawa. Ishikawa, who himself had been implicated in a case of false confessions, came up with a killer quote: “I was taught that foreigners and gang members have no human rights, that winning is everything.”
Businesses sending non-Japanese to work in the country should remember that: in the eyes of the law, they are as low as yakuza thugs.
Don’t be so hard on Morrisons
Investors fled because sales growth in its stores — as opposed to its wholesaling to corner shops — was 0.6% against 1.3% in the previous quarter.
Growth may be down, but at least it’s still positive. House broker Shore Capital had predicted it would be an even lower 0.25%. Besides which, it stuck to its full-year profit guidance.
More worrying is what lies ahead; the potential impact of Brexit and the competitive threat of a combined Sainsbury’s-Asda.
But this is a decently run business scoring well on customer satisfaction. Mozzers will be OK; that’s something you couldn’t say a few years back.