Photo/IllutrationFrench newspaper coverage of Carlos Ghosn being held in the Tokyo Detention House (Sawaaki Hikita)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

A man used to the high life, Carlos Ghosn may well ponder his downfall from the pinnacle of Nissan Motor Co. as he adjusts to spending his days in a miniscule cell at the Tokyo Detention House.

The French newspaper Le Figaro, reflecting the huge foreign media interest in Ghosn's arrest for alleged financial misconduct, described the conditions he now may find himself in as “hell.”

The detention house in the capital's Kosuge district of Katsushika Ward also houses death row inmates, and it was where former Aum Shinrikyo cult leader Chizuo Matsumoto was hanged in July.

Cells in the detention house either are for a single occupant, or for several people.

According to a former prosecutor, suspects under investigation by the Special Investigation Department of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office are generally placed in single occupant cells.

Those cells, based on what media organizations were shown in June, typically measure three “tatami” mats, or about 5 square meters. Each cell is equipped with a toilet and a small desk.

Suspects under investigation are only allowed to meet with their defense lawyers. However, in the case of foreign nationals, consular officials are allowed to visit under international treaties.

On Nov. 22, three days after Brazilian-born Ghosn was arrested on suspicion of under-reporting his income by billions of yen, a general consul of Brazil in Tokyo met with Ghosn for about 20 minutes.

“His condition looked good, and he has no health problems,” the diplomat told The Asahi Shimbun.

Shin Kukimoto, a high-ranking prosecutor of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office, held a news conference Nov. 22 in response to requests from foreign media.

Reporters from CNN, Bloomberg news service and the Financial Times attended, along with Japanese media representatives, to question him about the investigation.

Kukimoto refused to get into specifics of the investigation but called the act of filing false information on a company’s securities report, the reason Ghosn was arrested, a criminal act that is subject to some of the severest punishment under the Financial Instruments and Exchange Law.