It is not unsual for companies to pledge aid in humanitarian crises such as earthquakes and other natural disasters, but it happens rarely when it involves a politically charged environment.

A spokesman for Nissan said: "We recognise that there may be some level of risk in making donations when the situation is political, but from the standpoint of corporate social responsibility, we concluded that this was a just cause."

A Nissan official said the decision was initiated by the company's Corporate Citizenship Team, which concluded that the social impact of the conflict in Lebanon warranted the aid, especially because it involved many children.

Nissan said that the money would be donated to organisations that specifically help refugees.

Ghosn, who also heads Nissan's partner, Renault SA, is a naturalised Frenchman born in Brazil, but spent his formative years in Lebanon. Ghosn's parents are of Lebanese descent.