Greenpeace takes whaling debate to the Japanese public

Press release - 26 January, 2009
Greenpeace, which this year celebrates 20 years of environmental campaigning in Japan, officially opened a new Communications Centre today in the fishing and whaling town of Aomori in Japan's north, where the trial of two Greenpeace activists who exposed corruption in the whaling industry will be heard later this year (1)

A traditional sake barrel ceremony marked the launch of the new Communications Centre, where Greenpeace Japan plans to engage the people of Aomori on key issues such as ocean conservation, climate change and genetic modification.

"Our Communications Centre will be a hub for discussion with the Aomori public on key environmental issues- including Japan's whaling in the Southern Ocean", said Sara Holden, Greenpeace Whales Campaign Project Leader. "We also intend to take part dialogue with the people of Aomori about the Japanese government's whaling programme, and on whether taxpayers' money should continue to be spent on expensive whaling expeditions which produce science nobody needs, and stockpiles of whale meat that fewer and fewer people want."

Greenpeace's Aomori Communications Centre is open to the public, and will host a series of public events in the coming months, including a conference on sustainable fisheries.

"After 20 years of Greenpeace Japan, the Aomori Communications Centre is the perfect opportunity for us to reach out to a whaling and fishing community with our message of healthy oceans and the importance of marine reserves", said Jun Hoshikawa, Executive Director of Greenpeace Japan.

"Greenpeace works on many global environmental sustainability issues that have a special relevance to Aomori. This is one of Japan's most crucial fishery and agriculture centres, so we're here to listen, to understand, to explain, and to help take on problematic issues like the impacts of industrial fishing, which stand in the way of communities like Aomori finding a more sustainable relationship with the ocean, for the sake of future generations".

Greenpeace is an independent, global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment, and to promote peace.

VVPR info: Dave Walsh, Greenpeace International Media, in Ireland: +353 87 220 7023Eriko Sugita, Greenpeace Japan, in Tokyo: +81 80 5015 3845

Notes: (1) Last year, in Aomori, Greenpeace activists Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki, known as the Tokyo Two, intercepted a quantity of whale meat stolen by crew from the whaling factory ship Nisshin Maru. They exposed this corruption within Japan's whaling programme in May 2008, but they were arrested and held for 26 days without charge. Their trial will take place in Aomori in the coming months; they face up to 10 years in jail. Greenpeace investigation: Japan's stolen whale meat scandal, May 15 2008 - dossier available from: