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Lessons of Japanese justice from the casino bribery scandal and the Carlos Ghosn case

What do the 500 Dot Com casino bribery scandal and the Carlos Ghosn case have in common ? On the surface of things, not much… But when one goes through the detailed timeline and considers the stakeholders and their course of action, three lessons become obvious:

1- Japanese prosecutors act fairly swiftly and go after anyone, however powerful and politically-connected they may be. This is something I had already highlighted in a conference about a year ago, and this is yet another illustration that should put to rest the accusation that Carlos Ghosn was targeted because he is a foreigner… The central character in the 500 Dot Com scandal is no less than Tsukasa Akimoto, ex-Chairman of the House of Representatives Cabinet Committee on casino legalization. Also indicted are several high-ranking members of the ruling LDP party, as well as members of Osaka-based Japan Innovation Party.

2- Tsukasa Akimoto and all those (Japanese and Chinese) arrested alongside him did relatively little time in jail, being freed on bail less than two months after their arrest. Just as Carlos Ghosn did 70 days at Kosuge Prison, out of his 400-odd days under arrest until his escape… As a comparison, in France, Mayor of Levallois-Perret Patrick Balkany remained in jail at the infamous Prison de la Santé for 5 months on counts of tax fraud and money laundering, and owed his early release to rapidly deteriorating health. So much for “inhumane” Japanese justice…

3- Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga’s shadow looms large in both cases. An elected representative of the 2nd district of Kanagawa, where Nissan global headquarters are located, Suga “waved off the significance of the arrests for national policy, stating that the government will steadily push ahead with it so that benefits from building Integrated Resorts will be reaped as soon as possible”, according to Shingetsu News Agency’s Michael Penn. Standing behind Justice in the Carlos Ghosn case, pressing on in spite of it in the case of Integrated Resorts, the “prince of darkness” seems to be behind it all…

Detailed timeline of the 500 Dot Com casino bribery scandal, courtesy of Shingetsu News Agency:

Picture credits: TV Tokyo

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