OSAKA -- How former Nissan Motor Co. head Carlos Ghosn escaped Japan while on bail despite being forbidden to travel overseas remains a mystery, though a Lebanese TV outlet suggested he could have hidden in a musical instrument case -- perhaps taking advantage of less stringent baggage checks when leaving Japan on a private aircraft.
News reports have said that Ghosn, facing trial on multiple financial misconduct charges, left Kansai International Airport by private jet, arriving in Lebanon on Dec. 30, according to the Lebanese foreign ministry. However, an individual linked to the airport wonders how he got through immigration procedures, pointing out that private jet passengers basically "must go through the same process as that for passengers on international flights" -- with a few important exceptions.
That process begins with a security check.
Security guards commissioned by Kansai Airports, which manages Kansai International, conduct security checks on departing passengers on regular international flights. However, passengers on private jets leaving Japan are not obligated to go through the checks and there are cases where security guards do not examine their bags.
In the following customs checks, officers examine cash and other belongings that departing passengers intend to take out of Japan. Even though there are no regulations on specific customs check methods, officers go over the passenger and baggage manifests, as well as passengers' overseas travel records. Officers also examine passenger bags they deem suspicious, according to Osaka Customs.
A Lebanese TV station has reported that Ghosn hid in a musical instrument case when he left Japan.
Another source close to the airport points out, "If there are no records of his departure from Japan, I think it's highly likely he hid in a container."
(Japanese original by Yasutoshi Tsurumi, Izumisano Resident Bureau, and Yuta Kumamoto, Osaka City News Department)