Unjustly Convicted Anti-Whaling Activists Await Appeal Verdict as IWC Opens in Jersey

Press release - 11 July, 2011
Tokyo, 11 July 2011 -- As the 63rd annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission opens in Jersey, Greenpeace Japan’s Executive Director Junichi Sato awaits the verdict in his appeal of a conviction for theft, having exposed an embezzlement scandal within Japan’s whaling industry. Sato made the following statement:

“I had hoped to be present at this year's IWC meeting in Jersey, but both Greenpeace work in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster and my ongoing trial have kept me in Japan. It is more than three years since I helped expose an embezzlement and corruption scandal, in which valuable cuts of meat were given to crewmembers as souvenirs and sold on the black market. Japan’s needless commercial whale hunts - fraudulently veiled as ‘scientific research’- have already taken too many whales from our oceans and wasted too much taxpayer yen.

Despite our exposure of whaling industry corruption, evidence and witness statements supporting our allegations, and despite the Fisheries Agency of Japan’s apology for how its officials – including inspectors on the ships - received whale meat gifts from the fleet operator, Japan’s authorities have failed to investigate or punish the real criminals.

“The whale meat scandal must be investigated within this whaling commission, along with other corrupt activities of which Japan has been accused.”

“The March 11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster has had a profound effect on Japan, and particularly its coastal communities. The government must redirect the huge subsidies given to the unnecessary and unwanted whaling industry to programs that will help the people of Japan, and to help rebuild sustainable fishing communities. As the IWC and Japan’s whaling industry ponder their collective futures, we hope that finally a vision of whales in our oceans and out of harpoon’s way prevails.”

Greenpeace is opposed to all commercial whaling in all of the world’s oceans. On Tuesday 12th July, two Greenpeace activists will learn the verdict of their appeal of a September 2010 conviction for exposing corruption inside Japan’s whaling programme.

For more information on IWC63, please visit: www.greenpeace.org/international/iwc63