Tokyo prosecutors have charged Nissan's former chairman Carlos Ghosn, another executive and the carmaker itself for allegedly underreporting income.

The charges, imposed on Monday, involve allegations that Ghosn's pay was underreported by about 5 billion yen (R615m) in 2011-2015. The prosecutors said earlier that the allegations were the reason for Ghosn's arrest on November 19.

The prosecutors issued statements also outlining new allegations against Ghosn and Greg Kelly, the other executive. The fresh allegations are of underreporting another 4 billion yen (R504bn) in 2016-2018. Nissan as a company was not mentioned in the latest allegations.

In Japan, a company can be charged with wrongdoing.

Some kind of action by the prosecutors had been expected because the detention period allowed for the allegations disclosed earlier was to end on Monday.

Nissan confirmed the charges against it in a statement and vowed to strengthen its governance and compliance.

"Nissan takes this situation extremely seriously," it said.

"Making false disclosures in annual securities reports greatly harms the integrity of Nissan's public disclosures in the securities markets, and the company expresses its deepest regret."

Kelly, 62, is suspected of having collaborated with Ghosn. Kelly's attorney in the US says he is asserting his innocence, noting that insiders at Nissan said the procedure was legal.

Ghosn has not commented.

Ghosn was ousted as Nissan chairman and Kelly lost his representative director title following their arrests, but they both remain on Nissan's board pending a shareholder's meeting.

Ghosn, 64, was sent to Nissan by its partner Renault SA of France in 1999. He led a dramatic turnaround of the near-bankrupt Japanese carmaker. But Ghosn's star-level pay drew attention since executives in Japan tend to be paid far less than their international counterparts.

AP