Do you think the whaling industry has something to hide?
These heavily censored documents represent the level of secrecy
surrounding the Government-funded whaling industry. The FAJ is
unacceptably in breach of its own promise of transparency and
Our formal appeal, co-signed by Shokichi Kina - an Upper House
Diet member from the Democratic Party of Japan, comes as our
activists Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuk, known as the 'Tokyo Two',
prepare for the next stage of their court case in Aomori next week.
The two are on trial for exposing an embezzlement ring inside the
Japanese whaling fleet.
Update, March 23rd: Three independent,
international experts have submitted key testimonies to the
Japanese court, with human rights expert, Prof. Dirk Voorhoof,
saying that sanctioning the Tokyo Two could have "a serious
chilling effect on others who report on embezzlement or other
wrongdoing", and that a criminal conviction of the two would amount
toa "violation of the right of freedom of expression and the right
of the public to be properly informed about the whale meat
embezzlement in Japan."
Read the testimonies from:
Professor Voorhoof - media law and journalism ethics,
Professor Rothwell - international law and
Professor Schabas - human rights and law.
Demands for disclosure
A series of silmultaneous events at Japanese embassies around
the world also took place in support of our appeal and the Tokyo
The public pays
Despite the current economic crisis - the worst in a century in
Japan - the FAJ continues to subsidise the ICR's 'scientific'
whaling expeditions to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary to the
tune of 500 million Japanese yen ($5 million USD) a year. Taxpayers
are footing the bill for this unprofitable enterprise, yet the FAJ
is denying the public of their right to know how their money is
The uncensored truth is that the Japanese public are paying for
anecologically and economically unsustainable whale hunt in the
Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary that isneither needed or wanted by
anyone outside the whaling industry and ahandful of
No more excuses
"The public has an overriding right
to information on misconduct by government officials. The Tokyo Two
acted within the long-standing traditions of international human
rights, and in the best interests of the Japanese public,"
-- International human rights lawyer Richard Harvey.
In January the FAJ explained its decision to hide the whale meat
sales with the following:
"There is a risk not to be able to secure a fair and just sales
programme of the by-products (whale meat) if the information
relating to the contract of consignment sales and the sales
performance of the by-products are released to the public."
But there is no legitimate excuse for keeping such material out
of the public domain, particularly when it is the public purse
which is funding this programme. We have a right to the truth, the
whole truth and nothing but the truth!
The initial information regarding the
whale meat scandal was brought to us by a whistleblower from
within the industry. After a four-month investigation we discovered
that this embezzlement has been going on for decades and had become
an open secret. Government officials failed to stop the practice
and are now trying to legitimise it by claiming the meat was a
"souvenir" for the crew.
arrest and ongoing trial of the Tokyo Two shows that the
whaling lobby realises it has no legitimate defence, and is now
resorting to locking up its critics instead. Japan is obligated
under international law to protect those who expose corruption. But
when concerned citizens like Junichi and Toru are turned into
criminals for exposing a crime - this sends a message to anyone
wishing to expose government wrongdoing - that they may pay for
their concern with their liberty.
If you are also guilty of opposing corruption inside the whaling industry then you should ask Japan to arrest you too!
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