The Nissan fiasco is far from over, and it looks like it has caught the attention of three U.S. Senators. While the eyes of the world were focused on Carlos Ghosn and his daring escape, some might have forgotten that another person by the name of Greg Kelly is also part of the ongoing issue.
Kelly, the former Representative Director of Nissan during Ghosn's time, was also implicated for misdeclaring compensation amounts in the Tokyo Stock Exchange. He was already temporarily jailed in solitary confinement (released on bail for JPY 70 million) but has been unable to leave Japan while awaiting trial.
This caught the attention of Senators Roger Wicker of Mississipi and Lamar Alexander and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee. In a statement, they criticized the treatment by the Japanese authorities to Kelly, who also happens to be an American citizen.
“His predicament is a cautionary tale for Americans thinking about working in Japan, raising serious questions about whether non-Japanese executives can comfortably work in Japan under its legal system. If Americans and other non-Japanese executives question their ability to be treated fairly in Japan, then that most important bilateral relationship in the world is at risk,” said the three Senators in a joint statement.
Ironically, the three Senators represent the two states where Nissan has business of operations. In Canton, Mississipi, the automaker has a factory that builds models such as the Altima, Frontier, and the Titan, and it's capable of building 450,000 vehicles annually. Meanwhile, Tennessee is home to Nissan's North American headquarters.
Kelly has been prohibited to leave Japan since 2018 and was only able to post bail. His family, meanwhile, have already questioned his ability to get a fair trial in the country due to his current predicament. With Carlos Ghosn currently in Lebanon after making a daring escape, Kelly fears that he will not be able to fully defend himself against the allegations the Japanese prosecutors have thrown at him.
Officials in Tokyo have constantly defended the country's judicial practices, claiming that they're comparable to systems in Europe and the U.S. With Kelly's trial set to begin later this summer in Japan, it will be quite a while before he actually goes to court.