I was getting ready to welcome in the new year on Dec. 31 when a ニュース速報 (nyūsu sokuhō, breaking news) alert flashed across my phone: ゴーン被告が声明を発表「レバノンにいる」 (Gōn-hikoku ga seimei o happyō: "Rebanon ni iru," Defendant [Carlos] Ghosn releases statement: "I am in Lebanon").

A day later, I noticed that the Japanese headlines — after having used the term 無断出国 (mudan shukkoku, leaving the country without permission) — had settled on the word "逃亡" (tōbō, escape) to describe the former Nissan chief's flight from Japan.

I can't recall hearing too many stories like it in the past few years. In 2009, I remember hearing about Tatsuya Ichihashi who was 逃亡中 (tōbōchū, on the run) from the police. 大阪で逮捕された (Ōsaka de taiho sareta, He was arrested in Osaka) for the murder of Lindsay Hawker. Ghosn's situation was different, though, because he was already 勾留されていた (kōryū sareteita, in police custody) when he fled.