Normalisation? Call it commercialisation:

Japan's pro whaling meeting opens in Tokyo today

Press release - February 12, 2007
The Japanese government's meeting of predominately pro-whaling IWC members in Tokyo should be called a "commercialisation" not a "normalisation" meeting, Greenpeace said today.

The three-day meeting, which is NOT part of the IWC process, opens today - and its stated purpose is to "normalise" the IWC. Almost without exception, pro-conservation members of the Commission, including New Zealand, have agreed not to attend. It is expected that the Japanese government will use the occasion to claim there is support for a resumption of commercial whaling.

"Normalising" is the Japanese Government's codeword for commercialising the IWC," said Junichi Sato, of Greenpeace Japan. "Greenpeace believes the IWC needs to be reformed, but into a body that works for the whales and not the whalers."

About two thirds of the countries attending today's Tokyo meeting have been given foreign aid by Japan in previous years and have voted with Japan each year to push for a resumption of commercial whaling.

"It is time that the conservation countries at the IWC put as much effort into defending the whales as the pro-whaling nations are putting into overturning the moratorium." Sato added.

Greenpeace in Japan will be outside the meeting this morning, giving out briefings to the delegates - and badges with yen notes pinned to them. Greenpeace released a briefing today showing how much money the pro-whaling nations who vote at the IWC with Japan have received in fisheries aid money in recent years.

"It is the Japanese taxpayer's money which is being used for this aid - and our office in Japan is working to get this information to the public," said Jo McVeagh, Greenpeace New Zealand whales campaigner.

Other contacts: For more information and interviews in Tokyo, please contact
Media: Cindy Baxter 021 772 661
Campaigner: Jo McVeagh 021 927 301
In Tokyo: Keiko Shirokawa: +81 90 3470 7884
Junichi Sato: +81 80 5088 2990
Shane Rattenbury: +81-906-172-1882

Exp. contact date: 2007-03-13 00:00:00