Last year, boxes of embezzled whale meat, some falsely labelled
"cardboard", were offloaded and couriered to the homes of the ships
crew. Whistleblowers told Greenpeace that this was standard
practice, but the Fisheries Agency of Japan (FAJ), the Institute of
Cetacean Research (ICR) and Kyodo Senpaku (KS) publically denied
it. It was only later that the three managed to get their stories
straight and claimed that the boxes of prime whale meat were
approved as "souvenirs".
It is now one year since Greenpeace activists Junichi Sato and
Toru Suzuki first exposed the embezzlement of whale meat from the
fleet. They are still on trial and facing up to ten years in
prison, yet nothing has been done to address the scandal and the
real criminals behind the embezzlement.
The FAJ promised greater transparency, but in January it again
covered up the truth by heavily censoring documents containing
whale meat sales data, released to Greenpeace following a Freedom
of Information request. The FAJ, ICR and KS also denied another
request to allow a Greenpeace documentation crew to monitor the
whale meat being offloaded from the fleet this year.
"With the whaling fleet's history of embezzlement, Greenpeace
has requested that all whale meat offloaded be documented," said
Junichi Sato of Greenpeace Japan. "If the "souvenir" practice has
been legitimised, the public should at least be told how much of
the 1.2 billion yen it has spent subsidising the so-called
scientific whaling expedition has been spent on buying gifts for
At a time when Japan suffering its worst recession for a
generation, the government's massive subsidisation of an unwanted,
unneeded, and increasingly secretive programme is a slap in the
face for Japanese taxpayers. That it is still punishing critics
such as Sato and Suzuki adds insult to injury.
"With warehouse full to over flowing with whale meat from
previous years hunts, which can't even be given away, this year's
catch of 680 whales is still 680 too many,"(1) said Sato. "The
writing is on the wall for this economically and ecologically
bankrupt practice. This must be the last of these so-called
"scientific" whaling expeditions."
Greenpeace is an independent, global campaigning organisation
that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and
conserve the environment, and to promote peace.
Other contacts: Greg McNevin - Greenpeace International Communications, +81 (0)80 5416 6506, yoko Murakami - Greenpeace Japan Communications, +81 (0)80 5008 3048, hotos and video of the fleet arrival are available. Please contact:Greenpeace International video, Amsterdam: +31 (0) 646162015Greenpeace International picture desk, Amsterdam: +31 (0)20 718 2470
Notes: 1) Fisheries Agency of Japan Press Release 13th April, 2009http://www.jfa.maff.go.jp/j/press/enyou/090413.html2) Japan's stolen whale meat scandal, Part 2: The cover up: available from: /international/Global/international/planet-2/binaries/2009/3/the-cover-up.pdf3) Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki were arrested on June 20th, 2008, and spent 26 days in custody before being charged. The case against them is still before the court, and the next pre-trial date is currently set for May 15. http://www.greenpeace.org/tokyo-two/