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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.

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