Greenpeace Japan whale campaign coordinator Junichi Sato weighs 23.5 kilograms of whale meat stolen by crewmembers of the Nisshin Maru whaling ship. The contents of the box were listed as "cardboard."
The activists, Junichi Sato, 31, and Toru Suzuki, 41, are being
investigated for allegedly stealing a box of whale meat which they
presented as evidence of a whale meat smuggling operation. The box
had been illicitly removed by crew of the Nisshin Maru, the whaling
factory ship, following this year's Southern Ocean whale hunt. It
was put on display by Greenpeace activists in Tokyo on May 15th, as
evidence of wide-scale corruption at the heart of the Japanese
government-backed, sham scientific whaling operation in the
Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
Greenpeace requested, and was granted, a Japanese government
investigation into the scandal as a result of the evidence. The
Tokyo Public Prosecutors office investigation is still ongoing.
"We've uncovered a scandal involving powerful forces in the
Japanese government that benefit from whaling, and it's not
surprising they are striking back. What is surprising is that these
activists, who are innocent of any crime, would be arrested for
returning whale meat that was stolen from Japanese taxpayers by
crew of the whaling fleet. In whose interest were these arrests
made? Because it would appear to us that this is an intimidation
tactic by the government agencies responsible for a scandal," said
Greenpeace Executive Director Jun Hoshikawa.
Greenpeace's four-month undercover investigation revealed
evidence of an embezzlement ring involving crew members on board
the Nisshin Maru, who were openly taking the best cuts of whale
meat during the so-called scientific hunt, smuggling it ashore
disguised as personal luggage and then passing it to traders for
Working from information given by former and current Kyodo
Senpaku employees, Greenpeace documented the off loading of
smuggled whale meat into a special truck, in full view of Kyodo
Senpaku officials and crew members when the Nisshin Maru docked on
April 15th, this year. The consignment was documented by Greenpeace
activists once it left the ship and tracked to a depot in Tokyo.
One of four boxes destined for the same private address was then
intercepted in order to verify the contents and establish the
The consignment notes claimed the box contained "cardboard" but
in reality it held 23.5kg of salted 'prime' whale meat, worth up to
US$3,000. One informer told Greenpeace that dozens of crew take as
many as 20 boxes each.
"The whaling programme in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary is
funded by the Japanese tax-payers, including the Greenpeace
activists who have been arrested this morning, and they have a
right to know who is profiting from their money," said Mister
Hoshikawa. "The Japanese whaling programme has been shamed
internationally for its lack of scientific credibility, now it is
being shamed at home as well for trying to hide the corruption, and
now for taking revenge on those who have exposed it. The Greenpeace
activists should be immediately released."
Other contacts: In New Zealand:
Bunny McDiarmid - Greenpeace Executive Director – 021 838 183
Greg McNevin - Greenpeace Communications Officer - 021 577 556
Keiko Shirokawa: Greenpeace Japan Media, in Tokyo: + 81 90 3470 7884
Mike Townsley, Greenpeace International, in Amsterdam: +31 621 296 918
The "Stolen Japanese Whale Meat Scandal" dossier is available to download in English and Japanese at:
The peaceful actions of the crew of the Greenpeace ship, Esperanza, in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary earlier this year stopped the entire whaling operation for more than two weeks. The factory ship, Nisshin Maru returned to port last month with half the planned quota of minke whales and no endangered fin whales. The whalers were forced to admit that previous claims that fin whale numbers were increasing was not proved by the expedition -in which so few fin whales were seen they were unable to catch any.
Exp. contact date: 2008-07-31 00:00:00