Junichi and Toru, our two activists who exposed the Japanese whale meat scandal and have been held in detention for the last three weeks, have been charged with theft and trespass. This is despite pressure from more than 30 international organisations, including Amnesty International, the Lawyers Network for Human Rights Observation, International Fund for Animal Welfare, InArticle 19, Transparency International, Oceana, Ubuntu, and Oxfam, and almost a quarter of a million emails to Prime Minister Fukuda.
For now, they're still in custody - stay tuned for updates on this.
Their arrest - and the charges - are an obvious politically motivated move by the Japanese authorities - powerful forces within the Japanese establishment seem to be running scared, and want to silence legitimate peaceful protest, in order to protect the so-called scientific whaling programme. One of my colleagues here in the Greenpeace Japan office, Keiko said that a Tokyo journalist - one who specialises police stories - called up in shock in the heavy-handedness of the prosecutors in Aomori, where Junichi and Toru are being held.
We'll follow up with more news as we have it. In the meantime, let's hope we can get Junichi and Toru back to wives and children as quickly as possible. Almost a quarter a million people have already emailed Prime Minister Fukuda in demand their release.
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