Carlos Ghosn managed to sneak out of Japan undetected due to a simple design limitation on a luggage scanner at a Japanese airport, The Wall Street Journal and Nikkei Asian Review reported.

Ghosn fled Japan via private plane on December 29 after he was reportedly smuggled from his Tokyo home by private security operatives, who later hid him in a crate designed for the transport of musical instruments.

But because the crate was too large for the baggage scanner based in the private plane terminal of Kansai International Airport, near Osaka, it went unchecked, and Ghosn undetected.

The case was more than one meter (3.3 feet) tall, Nikkei Asian Review said.

On Monday, the Wall Street Journal published a photo of the crate in which Ghosn is purported to have concealed himself.

A spokesperson for the airport – Japan’s third busiest – told the Journal that security officials are supposed to open oversized baggage and check them by hand.

Inside Ghosn’s escape

The Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, said the 15-strong escape team took 20 trips to Japan while planning the escape over three months, searching at least ten airports for weaknesses.

That team included two US private security operatives, according to the Journal, one of whom was ex-Green Beret Michael L. Taylor.Kansai International Airport

Foto: The public departures terminal at Kansai International Airport in Osaka prefecture.sourceEQRoy /

Ghosn’s wife Carole also helped him flee, according to multiple reports, but in a statement on January 2, Ghosn denied that his family played any role at all.

The plane carrying Ghosn ferried him overnight to Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, whereupon he apparently took a second private plane to Beirut, Lebanon, landing in the early morning of December 30.

Turkey detained seven airline workers, including four pilots, on Thursday in connection with Ghosn’s escape.

Carlos Ghosn New year's even

Foto: After escaping, Ghosn spent New Years Eve with his family in Beirut, according to TF1.sourceTF1

Ghosn is a Lebanese citizen, and Lebanon has no extradition arrangement with Japan. The former Nissan CEO used a French passport and his Lebanese identity card at immigration in Beirut, Reuters reported.

Lebanese officials have also said they will not send Ghosn back to Japan, and that he entered the country legally.

Ghosn was scheduled to stand trial in Tokyo in April on charges of financial misconduct following his arrest in November 2018. He is accused of hiding $80 million in payments from Nissan.

According to the Journal, he fled Japan after he learned his trial would be delayed to April 2021.

In a statement last Tuesday, Ghosn said he would “no longer be held hostage by a rigged Japanese justice system.”

“I have not fled justice – I have escaped injustice and political persecution,” he said.

Journalists gather around unidentified visitors arriving to a house referenced by court documents as belonging to former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn in the Lebanese capital Beirut, on January 2, 2020. - Lebanese lawyers filed today a report to the judiciary demanding fugitive auto tycoon Carlos Ghosn be prosecuted over a trip he made to Israel as Renault-Nissan chairman in 2008, after he jumped bail in Tokyo in mysterious circumstances and arrived in his native Lebanon early on December 30. (Photo by JOSEPH EID / AFP) (Photo by JOSEPH EID/AFP via Getty Images)

Foto: Journalists gather around visitors arriving to a house referenced by court documents as belonging to Ghosn in Beirut, Lebanon, on Thursday.sourcePhoto by JOSEPH EID/AFP via Getty Images

Japanese prosecutors placed Ghosn under house arrest and 24/7 surveillance after he was released on bail in March 2019. They refused to let him communicate with his wife, or access the internet freely.

The Japanese government broke its silence on Ghosn’s escape on Sunday, and addressed his claims.

“Our nation’s criminal justice system protects the basic human rights of an individual and properly carries out appropriate procedures to disclose the truth of various cases, and the flight of a suspect while out on bail is never justified,” Justice Minister Masako Mori said in a statement.

Japanese officials have launched an investigation into his escape.