We Love Japan, But Whaling Breaks Our Hearts

Press release - 14 February, 2007
Greenpeace activists took to the streets across the globe on Valentine’s Day to send a message of love to Japan from twenty-eight different countries, while at the same time demanding the government end high seas whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

On Valentine's Day, Greenpeace protests during the second day of the "International Whaling Commission Normalisation Meeting." The meeting was called by Japan and supported by pro-whaling nations. Outside the venue, Greenpeace Japan tries to present Valentine's Day whale-shaped chocolates to the pro-whaling delegates attending the meeting.

In Tokyo, Greenpeace volunteers carrieda giant Valentine’s card, addressed to pro-whaling members of the InternationalWhaling Commission (IWC), currently meeting to discuss "normalising"the Commission, which read: "Normalization Means Protection, NotWhaling"

A fax was also sent to the Nisshin Maru – the factoryship of the whaling fleet, which read:

“We Love Japan, but Whaling Breaks Our Hearts! 69 % ofyour fellow Japanese do not support what you are doing in the Sanctuary andthere is virtually no market for what you are producing. The"research" you have been ordered to carry out is not wanted byscientists and the meat is not wanted by the Japanese people. On this Valentine'sDay, a day for spreading love, we ask once again that you leave the SouthernOcean Whale Sanctuary and return to port.”

Elsewhere,flowers, hearts, chocolates, kisses and romantic gondola trips were deliveredby Greenpeace activists to embassies and tourists in Argentina, Australia, Denmark, Chile, Costa Rica,Ecuador, France, Germany, Fiji, Greece, Guatemala, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, theNetherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the Philippines, Poland, Paraguay, Portugal,Russia, Sweden, Spain, Thailand, Uruguay and the USA.

“This is not just frivolous fun. We want to send aclear message that we are not anti-Japanese, we simply oppose whaling,” saidJunichi Sato, whales campaign leader in Greenpeace Japan. “We know that 69% ofJapanese do not support what their government is doing in the Southern Oceanand 95% never or rarely eat whale meat. Whaling does not belong in the 21stCentury and the only way forward for the IWC is to start working for the whalesand not the whalers.” Sato added.

The Greenpeace ship Esperanza is in the SouthernOcean, tracking the whaling fleet. The expedition is the last leg of theDefending Our Oceans campaign (1), to expose all threats to the oceans, whichbegan in November 2005 by sailing to the Southern Ocean, where activistsprevented 82 whales from being killed, and also forced out the companiesfunding the hunt, by taking peaceful direct action.

VVPR info: For interviews in Tokyo, please contact Keiko Shirokawa: +81 90 3470 7884 (Tokyo)Junichi Sato: +81 80 5088 2990 (Tokyo) Sara Holden, Greenpeace International Communications, on board theEsperanza: + 872 324 469 014 (satellite phone)For Video and Photos, please contact: For Videos: Maarten Van Rouveroy, in Sydney, Australia: +61 438 422 572 For Photos: Michelle Thomas, in Sydney, Australia: +61 404 096 556

Notes: Greenpeace is recruiting thousands of new campaigners who will be given the tools to become campaigners in their own right through a new website. http://whales.greenpeace.org (1) For information on the rest of the expedition go to:http://oceans.greenpeace.org