The proof: the contents of the box were listed as "cardboard."
We displayed a cardboard box filled with the best cuts of whale
meat, smuggled ashore by the crew of the Japanese whaling factory
ship, Nisshin Maru, for illegal trade and personal gain, at the
Japanese taxpayer's expense. The box, along with videotaped
testimony and other evidence, suggest widespread embezzlement of
whale meat has been occuring for decades under the noses of the
public officials who run the whaling programme, and are allowing it
Update, May 20th: You did it! More than 40,000 of
you wrote to the Japanese government to demand an investigation,
and today the Tokyo district Public Prosecutor has confirmed that
there will one. We will be cooperating in every way possible to
ensure that it is a full investigation, to the highest levels and
not simply the scapegoating of a few individual crew members. While
the investigation is underway, we're demanding that the government
immediately suspend any whaling permits, as well as stop
thetax-payers' subsidy to the programme.
Protest at Japanese embassy in Berlin.
Whale Bureaucrats aware of theft from taxpayers?
Our activists delivered the evidence, including the whale meat,
to the Public Prosecutor's office in Tokyo, calling on it to make a
full public enquiry into how deep the corruption runs with the
whaling programme. We're also calling for an end to the USD$4.7
million taxpayer subsidies for the programme, and for the license
of the company operating the whale hunt, Kyodo Senpaku, to be
The four-month Greenpeace investigation employed undercover
tactics to reveal dramatic evidence of an embezzlement ring
involving crewmembers on board the Nisshin Maru. Informers who
spoke to the activists claim that senior crew and officials from
Kyodo Senpaku turned a blind eye to the whale meat theft, allowing
it to continue for decades. One informer associated with Kyodo
Senpaku told Greenpeace that officials from the Institute of
Cetacean Research (ICR) - the agency that carries out the so-called
"scientific research" work on board the Nisshin Maru - are most
likely aware of the thefts as well.
"The information we have gathered indicates that the scale of
the scandal is so great, it would be impossible for the ship's
operating company, Kyodo Senpaku, not to know," said Junichi Sato,
Greenpeace Japan whales campaign coordinator. "Kyodo Senpaku is
turning their back on large scale corruption and theft of
taxpayers' money. What we need to know now, through a full public
enquiry, is who else is profiting from the whaling programme? Who
else has allowed this fraud to continue?" Sato added.
Working from information given by former and current Kyodo
Senpaku employees, the Greenpeace investigators secretly documented
the offloading of smuggled whale meat into a special truck, while
Kyodo Senpaku officials and crew members stood by, following the
Nisshin Maru's return earlier this year, on April 15th. Greenpeace
then tracked the consignment from the ship to a depot in Tokyo.
Consignment sheet detailing, in Japanese,
the contents of a crewmembers' personal box offloaded from the
whaling factory ship Nisshin Maru, containing 23.5 kilograms of
stolen whale meat. The sheet lists the contents of the box as
The house that stolen whale meat built
One of four boxes destined for the same private address was then
intercepted, to verify the contents and establish the fraud. The
consignment notes claimed the box contained "cardboard" - but in
reality held 23.5kg of salted 'prime' whale meat, worth up to
US$3,000, hidden beneath overalls. One informer told Greeneace that
dozens of crew take as many as 20 of these boxes each, and said he
overheard one crewmember claim to have built a house from the
proceeds in stolen whale bacon alone.
To track down the final destination of this meat, activists
visited pubs and restaurants in a number of different locations
around Japan where they requested "special" meat and filmed the
responses using hidden cameras. Traders and restaurant owners
confirmed that they were expecting the imminent delivery of whale
meat from this year's hunt, despite the fact that the Japanese
Fisheries Agency and the Institute of Cetacean Research do not
release the whale meat for sale before the end of June, 2008.
The ongoing Japanese government-backed scientific whaling
programme, which takes place in the internationally-recognised
Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, has been continually mired in
controversy, lies and scandal, bringing Japan into international
disrepute. This latest scandal begs the question of just who
profits from a whaling programme which generates no useful science,
and is commercially unsustainable.
Scandals high and low: how high does this one go?
While the scandal of stolen whalemeat is the most shocking, it's
not the only revelation to come from this investigation. Further
allegations from our informants that require investigation
- Throwing tonnes of whale meat overboard daily because they did
not have processing capacity for the increased quotas
- Cancerous tumours being found and cut out of whales and the
remaining meat processed for public sale
- Targeted hunts to ensure maximum catch, not random "sampling"
as required by the research permits
- Harsh working conditions because of the increased workload from
the increased quotas
Download the full
With Japanese society already bristling from a litany of public
bid-rigging for public works and
bribes for defence contracts, the whaling industry now joins
the ranks of the dishonoured, as well as earning the scepticism of
an increasingly dubious business community, with business magazine
Shukan Toyo Keizai suggesting that "
the stance of whaling hardliners could also be a vent for
Earlier this year, the Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported
that the whalers
were struggling to pay back $1 billion Yen in borrowed public
funds. With a massive 4,000 tonne stockpile of unconsumed whalemeat
and Asahi Shimbun reports of
consumer disinterest in "bloody drippings", the whalers seem to
be onto a sure loser. To make matters worse, the annual increase in
targeted Southern Ocean whales means that supply is already
outstripping demand, a situation "unthinkable for an ordinary
business entity" according to the accountant of a major audit
corporation quoted by the
"The whaling programme in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary is
funded by the Japanese taxpayers and they have a right to know who
is profiting from their money," commented Sato. "The Japanese
whaling programme has already been shamed internationally for its
lack of scientific credibility, embarrassed by the generation of
vast stockpile of whale meat few want to eat and is now embroiled
in a scandal at home for being corrupt. It is time for the whaling
programme to be stopped and public money spent on something more
honourable." Sato concluded.
Help us create an outcry for a full investigation and demand the permits of the whalers be revoked. Write a letter to the Japanese Prime minister. It will only take a minute.
How can Greenpeace continue to bite the hands of governments and corporations? We don't let them feed us, that's how. But that means we rely on small donations from people like you to keep our investigators undercover, our ships at sea, and our campaigns effective. Please give whatever you can.