After he stepped off a chartered jet in Beirut on Dec. 30, Mr. Ghosn began laying the groundwork for his new life. He immediately visited Lebanon's president, who hadn't been warned of Mr. Ghosn's escape plans, according to people familiar with the matter. His Lebanese lawyer, who has extensive political contacts in Beirut, dialed politicians and newspaper editors to gauge their support for Mr. Ghosn's decision to take refuge in Lebanon.
Mr. Ghosn has been mounting his legal and public-relations campaign against Nissan and the Japanese government with the zeal he once brought to running Nissan-Renault. Several times a week, he takes a car to his Lebanese lawyer's office in central Beirut.
The firm has provided him with a small, corner office overlooking a school and a church. He uses a videoconferencing room next door to talk to his other lawyers and public-relations advisers in Tokyo, Paris and New York.
"I have to take care of myself," he said. "I don't have to take care of all these companies. I work with a more restricted group of people. They've been through a lot of battles, but people I can really count on."
He has filed a lawsuit against Renault alleging the French car maker owes him a EUR250,000 pension payment after he stepped down as chairman and chief executive while inside a Tokyo jail. His lawyers have filed a lawsuit in an Amsterdam court alleging that Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors unfairly dismissed him as a director at the companies' Dutch joint-venture. Lawyers representing the joint venture have said Mr. Ghosn's dismissal was justified.
"It's an unbalanced fight," he said. "The companies have deep pockets."
Lebanese officials have asked Mr. Ghosn to not say anything that might create tension between Beirut and Tokyo. That meant toning down his first public appearance since his escape -- a Jan. 8 news conference in which he berated Nissan and the Japanese justice system.
Mr. Ghosn had considered criticizing the Japanese government and accusing officials of conspiring with Nissan in his downfall, according to people familiar with the matter. Nissan and J apanese prosecutors have denied that they conspired to bring down Mr. Ghosn. Prosecutors said they conducted their own investigation.
On the eve of the news conference, Lebanese officials asked him to refrain from attacking Japanese officials, these people said. A spokesperson for the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that before the news conference, Japan's ambassador to Lebanon had told Lebanon's president that Mr. Ghosn's "illegal departure from Japan and arrival in Lebanon is deeply regrettable and can never be overlooked by the government of Japan."
Lebanese government officials didn't respond to requests for comment.
In Lebanon, it is a crime for a private citizen to harm Lebanon's relations with another country.
"I would do nothing beyond reasonable to jeopardize the relationship between the countries," Mr. Ghosn later said.
Mr. Ghosn also used the news conference to try to quell a separate controversy. A group of lawyers had petitioned a Lebanese court to arrest Mr. Ghosn for a trip he made to Israel in 2008 when he was CEO of Renault. Lebanese citizens are barred from visiting that country because the two states are still technically at war.
Mr. Ghosn's legal team countered the petition in court by saying he made the visit as the head of a French company and shouldn't face prosecution.
Addressing the TV cameras in Arabic, Mr. Ghosn sounded a note of contrition. "Of course I apologize for the visit, and I was very moved that the Lebanese people were affected by it," he said. "The last thing I wanted to do was hurt the Lebanese people."
--Nazih Osseiran contributed to this article.
Write to Nick Kostov at Nick.Kostov@wsj.com and Sean McLain at email@example.com