Ten More Days Custody Without Charge for Greenpeace Japan Activists

Press release - July 1, 2008
A court in Aomori, Japan has ruled that two Greenpeace peaceful protestors who exposed a major scandal around the embezzlement of whale meat from the Japanese government-sponsored Southern Ocean whaling programme will spend the maximum time in custody without charge permissible under Japanese law - 23 days.

Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki were arrested on June 20th after exposing the scandal, despite offering to cooperate with any police investigation and having already submitted, under their own initiative, written statements about the undercover investigation, which revealed large-scale theft of meat from the tax-payer funded so-called scientific whaling programme.

"With this additional custody order, Junichi and Toru are to spend twenty three days in detention without charge, despite having given the police all the information they need. This is much longer than the time spent by the Tokyo District Prosecutor investigating the evidence presented by Greenpeace of an embezzlement ring within the so-called scientific whaling fleet," commented Greenpeace International Executive Director, Gerd Leipold. "The authorities in Japan must, as a matter of urgency, refocus their energy on investigating the crimes covered up by the whaling industry and sectors of the Government, not the method of exposing the evidence."

Since their arrest, nearly 190,000 people have sent letters to the Japanese Government calling for the release of Junichi and Toru and further demanding a full investigation into the whale meat embezzlement scandal. Protests have been held outside Japanese embassies in 33 cities across 29 countries.

In a message to supporters, sent via their lawyers, Junichi and Toru welcomed the support they have had from people all over the world, adding: "We still need your help. We have been ordered to remain in custody for ten more days without charge. Please encourage your friends to send an email to the Japanese government, if they have not already. Keep watching for news from Greenpeace of more actions you can take and make sure that the global demand to investigate the whale meat scandal we exposed is heard loud and clear here in Japan."

Other contacts: Keiko Shirokawa: Greenpeace Japan Media, in Tokyo: + 81 90 3470 7884 Dave Walsh, Greenpeace International, in Tokyo: +81 80 5877 2587 Mike Townsley, Greenpeace International, in Amsterdam: +31 621 296 918

Notes: Greenpeace has begun a series of activities at Japanese embassies around the world protesting the detention of Junichi and Toru. Nearly 190,000 people have now written to demand their release. http://www.greenpeace.org/tokyo-twoThe "Stolen Japanese Whale Meat Scandal" dossier is available to download at:http://www.greenpeace.org/whale-meat-scandal

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