Low blow, Mr. Saikawa.
While Carlos Ghosn's defense team last week continued to challenge Japanese prosecutors over what they termed irregularities in the case against the disgraced Renault-Nissan executive, Nissan chief Hiroto Saikawa was working his own campaign to impugn Ghosn's character. In an interview published in Japan's Shukan Bunshun magazine, Saikawa slammed Ghosn for not respecting Nissan, Japan or its people.
"I wonder if Mr. Ghosn has ever had any love or sense of attachment to Nissan as a company," Saikawa said. "I wonder if Nissan was merely a tool for him and his family to enjoy a luxurious lifestyle. I seriously question if Mr. Ghosn has had any respect for Japanese people and Japanese society at all. If he had respect for Japan, he couldn't have committed such misconduct."
Ghosn's children, who all grew up in Japan, weren't having it.
"It is extremely disappointing that a long-trusted co-worker of my father's would slander him by claiming falsely that my father does not love and respect Japan," the children — Caroline, Nadine, Maya and Anthony Ghosn — said in a statement signed by all four.
"Anyone who knows my father knows that is not true," they said, noting that the former Nissan chairman was awarded the Blue Ribbon Medal by Emperor Akihito, making him the first non-Japanese businessman to receive the accolade.
Last week, Tokyo District Court approved bail for Ghosn, who had been held in detention since his Nov. 19 arrest in Japan on charges of financial misconduct.