Greenpeace investigation: Japan's stolen whale meat scandal

Publication - 15 May, 2008
A four-month-long undercover investigation by Greenpeace uncovers some of the whaling industry's dirtiest secrets -- including embezzlement of whale meat from the taxpayer-subsidized programme.

Greenpeace Japan whale campaign coordinator Junichi Sato, with the whale meat that was stolen from Japanese taxpayers, and which he provided as evidence to the government -- only to be arrested and charged for doing so.

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Executive summary: The Greenpeace evidence shows a systematic, large scale operation on board the whaling factory ship Nisshin Maru, to steal whale meat processed from the Southern Ocean hunt. It is believed the practise has been taking place for many years. During the course of the investigation, Greenpeace obtained a box of stolen whale meat as proof of the fraud.

The box contained 23.5kgs of whale meat. Known as “Unesu” in Japanese, the meat is preserved in salt, rather than the official preserving method of freezing.

The box obtained by Greenpeace was one of four boxes, claimed to be “personal baggage” sent to a home address via an express delivery company by an employee of Kyodo Senpaku who was a crew member on board the Nisshin Maru during the 2007/2008 Southern Ocean expedition. The value of this one box is between 100,000 yen (US$1,000) and 300,000 yen (US$3,000 ). Further investigation has established that more than 23 crew members sent at least 93 boxes of “personal baggage” to at least 30 destinations.

Num. pages: 30