Hagerty Welcomes Greg Kelly Home to Tennessee

March 14, 2022

Kelly says, ‘There’s no place like home’

NASHVILLE, TN—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and former U.S. Ambassador to Japan, today welcomed home Greg Kelly to Tennessee.

Partial Transcript:

Senator Hagerty: “We’ve been working on this for a long time—more than three years, as a matter of fact, and as Ambassador Emanuel and I discussed, his pledge to me was that he would work as rapidly as he could to see you home from Japan, and I would be here today to welcome you home. And I’d like to say this, too. Greg Kelly is a man who’s had a storied career. He’s been a remarkable businessman and leader here in the United States. He’s helped build the economic alliance between the United States and Japan for decades. He’s had an incredible career at one of the most important companies here in Tennessee—a company that has built its presence here and employed thousands of Tennesseans, and Greg was looking forward to his retirement from that career. And unfortunately, his retirement was cut short. A very regrettable situation that occurred. It took over three years to get him home, but today I’m delighted to be here to welcome Greg back.”

Greg Kelly: “My wife, Dee, and I greatly appreciate the steadfast and strong support we received from Senator Hagerty throughout this whole ordeal, from Ambassador, to candidate for Senate, to Senator. I mean, words can’t really adequately describe how grateful we are for everything he has done for us in terms of the efforts to try to get us back home. The support that Senator Hagerty […] and many others provided us, gave really Dee and I some hope, a little bit of a spark as we faced a prosecution 7,000 miles away from home in a hostage justice system for something that wasn’t even a crime. And just to have that kind of support is very, very helpful […] Senator, I mean, you just don’t know how grateful Dee and I are. There’s no place like home.”


Kelly, who was an executive with Nissan in semi-retirement, arrived in Tokyo, Japan in November 2018 only to be arrested shortly after landing.

The sole charge against Kelly was that a draft, non-executed compensation agreement for then-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn should have been reported in the company’s financial statements.

The charge was ginned up as a result of disagreements over Ghosn’s corporate strategy and should have been settled in a corporate boardroom, not a courtroom. Kelly became caught up in the Japanese judicial system, receiving unfair and barbaric treatment in what many have described as a “hostage justice system” until earlier this month when he received a verdict allowing him to return to the United States. 

Hagerty has been involved in helping Kelly resolve his situation, dating back to his time as U.S. Ambassador to Japan and now as a U.S. Senator representing Tennessee—Kelly’s home state. 

Current U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel committed to Hagerty during his confirmation hearings last year to make securing Kelly’s release a top priority.

Hagerty released a statement earlier this month when Kelly’s verdict was announced.