Tokyo — Long before fallen automotive titan Carlos Ghosn fled trial in Japan and launched an attack on the country’s justice system from afar, another foreign businessman found himself at the mercy of Tokyo’s powerful public prosecutors.

Steven Gan, a US citizen who had run a debt-collection business in Japan for more than a decade, faced allegations in 2004 that he was not legally qualified to do so. When a prosecutor threatened him with more thajapan a year of pre-trial detention, the American said he quickly agreed to sign a series of confessions and apologies...

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