Two Greenpeace activists who exposed large scale embezzlement of tax payers' money from the Japanese government whaling programme will be kept in custody for a further 10 days, without charge, under the order of the Aomori Court.
The ruling was made today despite clear evidence that they have
committed no crime and that they have no intention to make obstacle
for judicial interests. (1)
Greenpeace lawyers have appealed the ruling and a decision on
the appeal will be made tomorrow (Monday) afternoon.
Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki were arrested in Tokyo on Friday
during a heavy- handed police operation involving raids on the
Greenpeace office in Japan and the homes of a number of Greenpeace
staff. Both had already offered to present themselves to police and
had submitted written statements describing how they obtained
evidence of a major whale meat theft scandal, including a box of
whale meat that had been smuggled off the whaling factory ship,
Nisshin Maru, disguised as crew members' personal possessions.
"Despite having made written submissions to the police and
offering to make themselves available for questioning, the
authorities clearly decided to make an example of them, prior to
the G8 meeting in Japan next month," said Greenpeace Japan
Executive Director Jun Hoshikawa. "There is no place in a democracy
for this kind of institutional intimidation, the two Greenpeace
activists are innocent of any crime and should be released
Greenpeace has launched an international on-line petition
directed at Japan's Prime Minster, Fukuda, appealing for him to
intervene to end this heavy-handed charade and order the release of
the activists. Within 24 hours of the launch some 50,000 people had
sent messages to Japanese embassies worldwide.
Other contacts: Keiko Shirokawa: Greenpeace Japan Media, in Tokyo:
+ 81 90 3470 7884
Mike Townsley, Greenpeace International, in Amsterdam:
+31 621 296 918
Dave Walsh, Greenpeace International, at the IWC in Chile:
+56 9 939 2952
Notes: 1. The activists can be held for up to 23 days without charge under Japanese law.