It was also on February 13, 2019 that Carlos Ghosn decided to change his legal strategy. He dismissed his lawyer, Motonari Otsuru, who had been advising him since the beginning of the case.
Former prosecutor Osturu was too discreet in a dispute that was taking over the international scene. The disagreements arose particularly when the lawyer did not obtain Carlos Ghosn’s release despite numerous guarantees presented to the judge.
Carlos Ghosn will now be represented in Japan by Junichiro Hironaka, one of the few in the country to fight the hostage justice system. He is especially critical of the well-known technique of forcing confessions, which allows the archipelago to shine with a 99.4% conviction rate.
Hironaka teams up with Hiroshi Kawatsu, also a critic of the system.
These two new lawyers, having already worked on high-profile cases, are mobilizing a lot more press and are known for very precise legal attacks, from which Hironaka has earned the nickname “Razor”.
It doesn’t take a week for the two lawyers to share with the press their astonishment at the quirks of the case. On February 20, 2019, Hironaka publicly expressed his doubts as to why all this matter had not been handled internally at Nissan.
The first attacks concerned the conditions of Carlos Ghosn’s detention or the overall involvement of Nissan, which Junichiro Hironaka describes as follows:
“This isn’t a case where Mr. Ghosn snuck in someplace in the middle of the night and did something on his own. These matters proceeded with the full knowledge of various executives in various sections inside Nissan.”Junichiro Hironaka – Carlos Ghosn’s lawyer
Furthermore, the Japanese lawyer stated that he believed Japan did not respect human rights in this case. An argument that resonates with the New York Times, as they reflected on how he would have been treated in the U.S. in such a situation. According to them, there would have been no interrogation without a lawyer and probably no detention either.
The U.S. newspaper also raises flags by publishing a vitriolic editorial against the hostage justice system.
“None of that, however, means that Mr. Ghosn, who insists he is innocent of all the charges against him, should be denied elemental legal protections, or bail. As the weeks have passed and Mr. Ghosn’s requests for bail have been rejected, that is exactly what the Japanese legal system seems to be doing.”
An interesting change in style that matches the requests of new international NGOs, such as the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the Center for Prisoners’ Rights, to reform Japan’s hostage justice system. Nothing, however, to reassure businessmen operating from the archipelago.