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Airport security gap allows Ghosn to be smuggled out in luggage

Former Nissan Motor Co. Chairman Carlos Ghosn was able to jump bail in Japan last month due to a airport security gap that enabled the tycoon to be smuggled out to Lebanon in oversized luggage from an airport terminal for private jets, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

Japan’s justice minister said the country would tighten security to make it harder for defendants like Carlos Ghosn to escape, and she said one option was using global-positioning system tracking.

“I have given orders to increase the rigor of departure procedures,” said the minister, Masako Mori, at a news conference. She added at a subsequent news conference that Japan is now requiring private-jet operators to inspect large luggage items.

Ghosn was smuggled out in a large box reserved for concert equipment, which is too large to fit through airport scanners. While oversized luggage is usually opened by airport security personnel, private-jet travelers are seen as low risk and are therefore not always subjected to inspections, the paper said.

It also said the operatives visited at least 10 airports in Japan before settling on Kansai airport. Lebanon, which has no extradition agreement with Japan, has said Ghosn entered the country legally in possession of a French passport and a Lebanese identification card.

But Turkish authorities said Ghosn, who holds Brazilian, French and Lebanese nationality, entered and departed Turkey illegally via a private aircraft with the help of suspected accomplices who have been detained.