Carlos Ghosn's escape surprises Japan fighting for answers

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Mr. Ghosn's bail conditions prevented him from using a telephone, and he spent most of his days in his lawyer's office, the only place he was allowed to use the Internet. For months, he had been traveling from his home in an elegant neighborhood in central Tokyo to meet with his lawyers and prepare for his trial.

All the time, a chamber ordered by the court supervised his door, recording his comings and goings. Every time he left, he suspected that Nissan's private authorities and investigators followed him around the city, according to people familiar with the matter.

Mr. Ghosn spoke with his wife, Carole, for about an hour on December 24, Mr. Hironaka said. Prosecutors asked a judge to ban the couple from contacting each other for concerns that they could conspire to manipulate evidence or witnesses. The court had prevented the couple from communicating for months, Hironaka said, and they had only spoken twice since Ghosn was arrested in April.

However, Mr. Ghosn kept in touch with his family. His daughter Maya visited him in Tokyo, according to people familiar with his movements. And their outings with their children would occasionally be informed by the Japanese press or appear on social networks, where commentators speculated about their well-being.

Mr. Hironaka said that the legal team spent Christmas day in court discussing preparations for Mr. Ghosn's trial, which is expected to take place sometime next year.

The team had planned to regroup on January 7 for the first strategy session of the new year.

Mr. Ghosn's three passports were in the possession of his lawyers, Hironaka said. It was one of the conditions of his bond, which his lawyers had only won after repeated and hard-fought attempts to convince the court that his client, with all his wealth and power, was not a risk of escape.

"He left his stuff here," Hironaka told reporters. "I want to ask him:" How could you do this to us? "