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Lebanese disappointed by arrest of 'big star' Ghosn

Carlos Ghosn (Mainichi)

BEIRUT -- Residents of this Lebanese capital reacted with surprise and disappointment to the news of the arrest in Japan on Nov. 19 of Nissan Motor Co. Chairman Carlos Ghosn, who spent his childhood here with his Lebanese parents.

Local media outlets gave major coverage to the development, with the popular newspaper An-Nahar reporting in its English website edition that "prominent Lebanese businessman" Ghosn is to be dismissed from his post.

Mohammad, 40, a taxi driver in the Hamra district of Beirut, said he was disappointed by the arrest. "There are many Nissan cars in Lebanon, and he was very famous here. I regret his arrest."

A female company employee described Ghosn as a "successful big star," adding that she was surprised by what's been reported. "Our family talked about it during dinner," she said.

Ghosn went to school for about 10 years in Lebanon from age 6. The country, with many ethnic and religious groups speaking Arabic, English, French and other languages, has produced many internationally active figures.

A small country with a population of about 6 million facing the eastern Mediterranean, Lebanon has accumulated its wealth in the past through transit trade. Many residents fled the country during the civil war from 1975 through 1990. The expat Lebanese population is large globally, with some 8 million of them living in Latin America, where Brazil, Ghosn's country of birth, is located.

(Japanese original by Koichi Shinoda, Cairo Bureau)

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