To Japan, With Love

A message from Greenpeace And the Biggest Ever Crew to Sail to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary

Press release - January 24, 2007
The Greenpeace ship, Esperanza will sail from Auckland midday tomorrow, as part of a global campaign to bring an end to whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

Greenpeace action against Japanese whaling in Southern Ocean.

As well as the expedition, which will be the eighth one to the Southern Ocean, the campaign will focus on engaging with the 69% of people in Japan who do not support whaling (1) in the Sanctuary, by generating a global crew to campaign together through a new website

"Last year our campaign forced corporations out of the whaling business, now the Japanese government is spending tax payers money on a redundant industry that the majority of the voters in my country don't even agree with," said Junichi Sato, whale project leader from Greenpeace Japan, speaking from Auckland.

"We want to work with the two-thirds majority at home who share our view, so a clear message is sent from the people of Japan to their own government to get out of whaling."

Opposition to whaling is often characterised by the Japanese government as being anti-Japan, The Greenpeace campaign will send a positive message that we love Japan, but not whaling, to make it clear that while there is global opposition to whaling, there is respect and understanding of the people.

"The Japanese government is not the only one that we will be challenging to stop whaling," said Esperanza expedition leader and New Zealander, Karli Thomas. "Too many governments have talked about protecting the whales without taking action.  They need to ensure that they gain enough support inside the International Whaling Commission (IWC) (2) to begin the process of reforming it, so it becomes an organisation that works for the whales and not for the whalers."

The Esperanza is on the last leg of a global expedition - "Defending Our Oceans", which exposed all the major threats to the oceans and began in November 2005 by sailing to the Southern Ocean. By putting themselves between the harpoon and the whales, activists stopped 82 whales from being killed.

Note to editors:

(1) Nippon Research Centre Opinion Poll

(2) The next IWC meeting will be in Anchorage, Alaska in May

Other contacts: Sara Holden, Greenpeace International Communications, and Karli Thomas: Greenpeace Expedition leader, on board the Esperanza + 872 324 469 014 Junichi Sato: Greenpeace Japan Whales project leader: + 81 901 79 32767 For Video and photos: Michelle Thomas, in Auckland: + 61 404 096 556

Exp. contact date: 2007-02-15 00:00:00