Democratic lawmakers ask Biden to raise issue of jailed Navy officer with Japanese PM

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Democratic lawmakers, led by Representative Elaine Luria of Virginia, have asked President Biden to raise the issue of a US Navy officer who has been held by the Japanese government since last year. The officer, Michael Taylor, has been detained without bail since May 2020 alongside his son and another man for their alleged involvement in helping former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn escape from Japan in 2019.

In a letter to President Biden, the lawmakers expressed their concern over Taylor’s confinement and urged the president to take swift action to ensure his safe return to the United States. The group of lawmakers, majority of them representing the House Armed Services Committee, also requested that the president discuss this matter with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga during their upcoming meeting next week.

“We believe that Mr. Taylor’s detention by the Japanese government is unwarranted and unjustified. Mr. Taylor is a decorated Navy veteran who has served his country with honor and distinction. We urge you to raise this issue with Prime Minister Suga and press him to ensure that Mr. Taylor is released and allowed to return home to his family and loved ones,” the letter stated.

The Japanese government has charged Taylor and his associates with aiding and abetting a fugitive, claiming that they helped Ghosn escape from Japan by smuggling him out of the country in a large musical instrument case. Ghosn, who was facing trial for financial misconduct charges, fled to Lebanon where he currently resides.

Taylor, a former US Army Special Forces member, has denied any wrongdoing and claims he was hired by Ghosn as a security consultant. He has been detained in a small cell in a Tokyo detention facility for more than a year and has reportedly suffered significant weight loss and other health issues due to the harsh conditions of his confinement.

The situation has garnered the attention of human rights organizations, with many concerned about the treatment of Taylor in Japanese custody. Taylor’s family has also been advocating for his release, with his wife writing to President Biden last month pleading with him to intervene.

“We are devastated by the unjust and relentless incarceration of my husband, Michael Taylor, in Japan. This has been an unfathomable ordeal for our entire family, including our four children, who have been without their father for over a year. We implore you to take immediate action to bring Michael home to us,” said Taylor’s wife in her letter.

This case has also raised concerns over the US-Japan Alliance and the legal system in Japan. The US government has been urging Japan to improve its judicial practices and ensure a fair trial for Taylor and other detained Americans. As the two countries prepare to hold a summit next week, Taylor’s case is expected to be a topic of discussion.

If President Biden raises this issue with Prime Minister Suga, it could significantly impact the outcome of Taylor’s trial. It may also send a message to other countries about the importance of protecting the rights of US citizens abroad and promoting transparency in legal proceedings.

In conclusion, Democratic lawmakers are calling on President Biden to intervene in the case of jailed Navy officer Michael Taylor and to raise this issue with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga during their upcoming meeting. The lawmakers believe that Taylor’s detention is unjustified and are urging the Japanese government to release him and allow him to return home to his family. This case has garnered attention from human rights organizations and has raised concerns over the US-Japan Alliance and the legal system in Japan. If President Biden raises this issue, it could significantly impact Taylor’s trial and promote transparency in legal proceedings for Americans detained abroad.