Former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn revealed for the first time the details of his daring escape from Japan on a cold December night.
In an interview with “BBC” published today, 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 at 10:30 pm lying inside, and said: “That night it was scheduled The plane takes off at 11 pm.
“The 30 minutes of waiting in a box on the plane for take off was probably the longest waiting time I’ve ever had,” he says.
Ghosn recalls the ways in which he used to disguise himself to walk the streets of Tokyo without anyone knowing him, why he chose a large box of musical equipment to escape from Japan inside, and the joy he felt when he finally arrived in Lebanon.
Describing the moment he was arrested at Tokyo airport three years ago, Ghosn said: “It was as if you were hit by a bus or something very painful happened to you.”
“The only memory I have of this moment is shock and extreme shock,” he continued.
Commenting on his transfer to a detention center in Tokyo, where he received prison clothes and was locked 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 anything.”
Ghosn spent more than a year in prison 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 if conviction, in a country where the conviction rate is 99.4 percent.
The escape plan was devised after Ghosn was told that he could no longer call his wife Carol, as he decided to find a way out of the crisis during 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 to be inside a box or inside a luggage, so that no one could see me, no one could recognize me, and write the plan a success.” “.
He added that the idea of using a large box that usually contains musical instruments was more logical, especially since at that time a lot of concerts were organized in Japan, adding: “But how can a very famous person, who is now notorious, in Japan move from his home in The capital, going to the airport, and then fleeing?”
Ghosn says that the plan was to behave as naturally on that day as possible, stating, “It should be a normal day, in which I walk normally in normal clothes, normal behavior, and everything changes suddenly.”
And he added, “You can imagine that I had to go to places I had not visited before, and buy clothes that I had not bought before… All this is part of a way to guarantee yourself the maximum possibility of success, while not drawing attention to your person at all.”
From Tokyo, Ghosn flew by bullet train to Osaka, where a private jet was waiting for him at a local airport for departure, but a box of jellyfish was waiting for him at a nearby hotel.
He says, “When you enter the box, don’t think about the past, don’t think about the future, just think about the moment you live in.. I’m not afraid, there is no emotion except for the great focus that this is your chance, it can’t be missed. 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, who were posing as musicians, and Ghosn generally believed he was kept inside the box for about an hour and a half, although it seemed to have lasted for a year and a half.
The private plane took off on time and Ghosn flew at night, and changed the plane in Turkey before landing in Beirut the next morning.
Lebanon does not have an extradition agreement with Japan, so Ghosn was allowed to stay.
Despite this, the United States has since extradited the two American men, Michael Taylor and his son Peter, to Japan and they face three years in prison for helping Ghosn escape.
Greg Kelly, a former colleague of Ghosn at Nissan, also faces prison while he remains under house arrest in Tokyo for helping his former boss hide his earnings, a charge Kelly denies.