Former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn has revealed for the first time the details of his daring escape from Japan on a cold December night.
In an interview with the BBC, published yesterday, Wednesday, Ghosn, who served as president of Nissan and Renault Motors, recounted his escape in a box on a plane from Japan, where he was lying at 10.30am, saying: “That night it was planned. The plane boarded at 11pm.
“The 30 minute wait in a box on the plane for takeoff was probably the longest wait I’ve ever had,” he says.
Ghosn reminds himself of the ways he dressed himself to walk the streets of Tokyo without anyone knowing him, why he chose a large box of musical equipment to escape from Japan, and the joy he felt when he finally arrived in Lebanon.
Describing the moment he was arrested three years ago at Tokyo airport, Ghosn said, “It was like you were hit by a bus when something very painful happened to you.”
“The only memory I have of this moment is shock and extreme shock,” he continued.
Responding to his transfer to a detention center in Tokyo, where he was given prison clothes and locked up in a cell, he said: “Suddenly I had to learn to live without a watch, without a computer, without a phone, without news, without a pen, without what. “
Ghosn spent more than a year in jail or under house arrest in Tokyo after being released on bail, and it was unclear when he would appear for trial, and the fear was that it would take years, while Ghosn faces another 15 years in prison. receives as a conviction, in a country where the conviction rate is 99.4 percent.
The escape plan was considered after Ghosn was told he could no longer marry his wife Carol because he decided to find a way out of the crisis at his house arrest.
He stated, “The plan was to hide my face, so I had to hide somewhere. The only way I could hide was in a box or in a luggage so that no one could see me, no one could recognize me. , and write the plan successfully. “.
He added that the idea of using a large box containing mostly musical instruments was more logical, especially since at that time many concerts were being organized in Japan, adding: “But how can a very famous person, who is now notorious, moving from his home in the capital to Japan, going to the airport and then leaving?
Ghosn says the plan was to behave so naturally on that day, stating, “It must be a normal day, in which I normally walk in normal clothes, normal behavior, and everything changes suddenly.”
And he added: “You can imagine I had to go to places I had not visited before, and buy clothes I had not bought before … All this is part of a way to maximize yourself ability to guarantee success while not drawing any attention to your person at all. “
Implementation: From Tokyo, Ghosn flew by bullet train to Osaka, where a private jet was waiting for him at a local airport before departure, but a box of jellyfish was waiting for him at a nearby hotel.
He says, “When you enter the box, do not think of the past, do not think of the future, think only of the moment in which you live. I’m not afraid, there is no emotion except the big focus that this is your chance, it can not be missed. If it is lost, you will pay for it. “Your life, the life of living hostage in Japan.”
Ghosn was taken from the hotel to the airport by two American men, father and son Michael and Peter Taylor, pretending to be musicians, and Ghosn generally believed he was kept in the box for about a quarter of an hour, although it seemed to have lasted half a year.
The private plane took off on time and Ghosn flew at night, changing the plane in Turkey before arriving in Beirut the next morning.
Lebanon does not have an extradition agreement with Japan, so Ghosn could stay.
Despite this, the United States has since extradited the two American men, Michael Taylor and his son Peter, to Japan and they are serving three years in prison for helping Ghosn escape.
Greg Kelly, a former Ghosn colleague at Nissan, is also facing jail time while remaining under house arrest in Tokyo for helping his former boss hide his profits, Kelly denies.