Photo/IllutrationLawyer Takashi Takano, center, sees off a minivehicle carrying Carlos Ghosn, the former chairman of Nissan Motor Co., at the Tokyo Detention House in the capital’s Katsushika Ward on March 6. (Naoko Kawamura)

Realizing that the court had no plans to release his defendant Carlos Ghosn on bail, veteran lawyer Takashi Takano proposed a bail deal much like the one he secured in a case 20 years ago--and the tactic worked.

The former Nissan Motor Co. chairman, 64, was released on bail on March 6 after being detained for three and a half months on charges of under-reporting his remuneration and other financial improprieties.

The unconventional bail conditions include surveillance cameras set up at the entrance to Ghosn's designated home and no use of the Internet, including e-mail.

At the basis of the conditions was the 62-year-old Takano's resolve to do everything to bail Ghosn out and draw attention to Japan's infamous "hostage justice" system, in which bail is generally granted only to those who admit to the allegations.

Ghosn is allowed to carry a cellphone, but is restricted to only making calls. Camera images and mobile phone records will be submitted to the Tokyo District Court.

The only computer Ghosn can use is at his lawyer's office, but Internet use is not allowed.

Although the lawyer's team suggested that Ghosn "spend time at the lawyer's office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays,” the condition was not adopted by the court.

Upon hearing about the tough restrictions, Takeshi Hagiwara, 63, a member of the Saitama Bar Association, realized it was not the first time Takano, known as a legendary criminal lawyer, had employed such methods.

Hagiwara and Takano worked together in 1996 to defend a husband arrested for hitting his unfaithful wife. As the husband denied some of the charges, he was not released on bail even after the trial started.

On his fifth attempt to get the defendant out, Takano proposed that the husband live in an apartment rented by Takano, work as a staff member at Takano’s office between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays, stay with a lawyer at night and on Saturdays and Sundays, and be accompanied by an attorney when leaving the town where the apartment is located.

The court accepted the request, and the husband was released on bail for the first time in four months. His apartment was monitored by 18 volunteer lawyers in rotation, according to Hagiwara.

Hagiwara described the bail conditions as “forbidden measures” because they excessively restrict the privacy of the defendant.

“The conditions were ridiculous, yet the court would have never allowed for his bail without them,” said Hagiwara. “Times have changed and surveillance cameras were adopted (in Ghosn's case), but the essence of the issue is the same,” he added, referring to Japan's hostage justice system.

"In a case drawing global attention, Takano employed the same methods he used in the case involving the couple in Saitama Prefecture," he added. "It may be that he wants to reveal the issue in Japan to the world."

The Code of Criminal Procedure stipulates that defendants should be let out on bail if there are disadvantages in detaining them for a prolonged period, such as being unable to make preparations for the trial, even though there are risks of them tampering with or destroying evidence.

The district court decided to release Ghosn, apparently concluding that surveillance cameras would reduce the possibility of evidence being destroyed and that detaining him any longer would have serious disadvantages.

Denouncing the bail conditions, prosecutors said that as Ghosn “can still contact relevant officials outside the home, (the restrictions) are a mere charade,” and that they cannot trust the lawyers monitoring him.