Biden envoy to Japan pledges to make Nissan executive a priority

Rahm Emanuel, candidate for the post of next US Ambassador to Tokyo, on Wednesday promised during his Senate confirmation hearing to prioritize the case of a former US executive at Nissan Motor who faces jail time in Japan . In September, Japanese prosecutors asked a Tokyo court to send executive Greg Kelly to jail for two years for his alleged role in helping ousted Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn hide his earnings .

When asked about the case, Emanuel, whom President Joe Biden has appointed as ambassador to key United States ally Japan, told senators he would treat the matter as if he were a member of Congress and Kelly a voter. “I’ve already started educating myself on this and want a report on my desk and… if you start asking for this, it goes from here to here as a top priority,” he said.

“It’s not just another case to check out,” he said. “I’m going to bring this up as a former US congressman, who knows what it means when you have a voter at heart.” Emanuel, the former mayor of Chicago, was responding to a question from Republican Senator William Hagerty of Tennessee, a former ambassador to Japan, who asked him if he would make it a top priority to clear Kelly’s name.

Hagerty called Kelly a “citizen of Tennessee” and said he was “tricked” into leaving the state to travel to Japan where he was arrested in 2018, even though his lawyers believed he did not. committed no crime. Hagerty said Japan was the biggest investor in his home country and called the deal a “real obstacle” to US-Japanese economic relations.

Japanese prosecutors have requested jail time for Kelly, who has been on bail in Japan since 2018, in closing arguments in a trial that began last year. A ruling in the case is expected next year, and if convicted, Kelly could join two other Americans serving time in Japan after a court sentenced them in July for helping smuggle Ghosn out. from Japan on a private jet hidden in luggage to Lebanon in late 2019, where he remains free as a fugitive.

Kelly has denied accusations that he helped Ghosn hide 9.3 billion yen ($ 81.4 million) of Ghosn’s income over eight years through deferred payments, saying his only goal was to keep a general manager who might have been drawn to a rival automaker. The two former Nissan executives say they were the victims of a coup by former colleagues fearing that Ghosn could push through a merger between Nissan and Renault SA, its main shareholder.

(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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