Japan and Britain have been discussing the handover of three Britons who fled Japan after allegedly robbing a jewelry store in Tokyo of items worth ¥106 million ($964,000) in 2015, investigative sources said Tuesday, which could lead to the first time fugitives are received from a country with which Japan has not signed an extradition treaty.
Although the three men are not thought to be in police custody, British authorities may have information as to their whereabouts, the sources said.
At present, the Japanese government only has an extradition agreement with the United States and South Korea.
The move also comes at a time when Japan is seeking the handover of former Nissan Motor Co. Chairman Carlos Ghosn, who jumped bail and fled to Lebanon while awaiting trial for alleged financial misconduct.
Lebanon’s interim justice minister has said the country does not hand citizens over to foreign authorities in principle, suggesting that it is highly unlikely that Ghosn will be sent back to Japan.
While there’s an international arrest warrant out for Ghosn, Lebanon has no extradition accord with Japan, meaning he’s thought to be safe from deportation.
On the night of Nov. 20, 2015, Daniel Lee Kelly, Joe Anthony Chappell and a man age 19 at the time robbed 46 items of jewelry from a Harry Winston Inc. store in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward, beating up a security guard and destroying showcases in the process, police allege.
Japanese police identified the three men through security camera footage.
The three men left Japan two days after the heist. The Tokyo police put them on the international wanted list through Interpol after obtaining arrest warrants for them in October 2017.
According to the sources, British authorities showed understanding for the Japanese extradition request based on the British judicial system’s basic philosophy that offenders should be tried and punished in countries and regions where the crimes were committed.
The Tokyo police have sent evidence and other investigation materials to the British authorities, and both sides have been preparing necessary documents and negotiating on the matter, the sources said.
When no extradition treaty exists, the country where the crime was committed usually asks the country where the alleged suspect is living to prosecute him or her based on the former’s laws.