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Nissan's Ghosn crisis

Case allegedly hiding Ghosn wasn't X-rayed at airport

Kansai International under scrutiny as Japan tightens immigration procedures

Kansai International Airport: Japanese authorities are reviewing screening procedures at the Osaka-area hub following Carlos Ghosn's escape from Japan. (Photo by Konosuke Urata)

TOKYO -- No X-ray screening was performed on the luggage thought to have hidden former Nissan Motor Chairman Carlos Ghosn at a Japanese airport during his escape from the country, a source familiar with the matter told Nikkei on Sunday.

A case more than 1 meter tall was loaded onto a jet that took off from Kansai International Airport near Osaka on Dec. 29.

Japanese authorities suspect Ghosn hid in the case to evade detection, fleeing the country to Lebanon in violation of the terms of his bail.

The case did not undergo an X-ray scan during the security check, the source said. Under Japanese law, airlines are responsible for performing security checks, but they usually delegate those duties to security contractors.

Japanese authorities are reviewing screening procedures at Kansai International.

Separately, Japan's Justice Minister Masako Mori on Sunday said she had ordered officials to ensure immigration procedures are strictly followed.

"We will take necessary measures to ensure nothing of this kind happens again," Mori said, adding that it appeared Ghosn had left the country illegally.

A Turkish private jet operator, MNG Jet, has said two of its planes were used illegally to take Ghosn from Japan to Turkey and on to Lebanon. The company alleges an employee took part in facilitating the escape and is under investigation by authorities.

On Sunday, Tokyo prosecutors seized Ghosn's French, Brazilian and Lebanese passports being held by lawyers. Ghosn entered Lebanon on Jan. 30 using a fourth passport issued by France. It remains unclear why Ghosn has two French passports.

Ghosn was awaiting trial on financial charges after his November 2018 arrest in Japan. The former leader of the Renault-Nissan automobile alliance denies the charges.

As part of his bail terms, Ghosn originally was required to surrender all four passports to his attorneys. The courts allowed Ghosn to keep one French passport in a locked case since he was required to have such a document on hand during his stay in Japan.

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