Greenpeace Puts Pressure On Japan to End Whaling in Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary

WASHINGTON- Greenpeace activists took to the streets across the globe on Valentine's Day to send a message of love to Japan from twenty different countries, while at the same time demanding the government end high seas whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. The Greenpeace ship Esperanza is currently in the Southern Ocean ready to confront the whaling fleet. Here in the U.S., Greenpeace volunteers delivered a message to the Japanese Embassy in Washington, D.C., as well as to people in San Francisco’s Japantown.

In Tokyo, Greenpeace volunteers carried a giant Valentine's card, addressed to pro-whaling members of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), currently meeting to discuss "normalizing" the Commission, which read: "Normalization Means Protection, Not Whaling"A fax was also sent to the Nisshin Maru - the factory ship of the whaling fleet, which read: "We Love Japan, but Whaling Breaks Our Hearts! 69% of your fellow Japanese do not support what you are doing in the Sanctuary and there is virtually no market for what you are producing. The "research" you have been ordered to carry out is not wanted by scientists and the meat is not wanted by the Japanese people. On this Valentine's Day, a day for spreading love we ask once again that you leave the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary and return to port."In other world capitals, flowers, hearts, chocolates, kisses and romantic gondola trips were delivered by Greenpeace activists to embassies and tourists in Argentina, Australia, Denmark, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, France, Germany, Fiji, Greece, Guatemala, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the Philippines, Poland, Paraguay, Portugal, Russia, Sweden, Spain, Thailand, Uruguay and the U.S."This is not just frivolous fun. We want to send a clear message that we are not anti-Japanese, we simply oppose whaling," said Karen Sack, Whales Project Leader at Greenpeace U.S. "We know that 69% of Japanese do not support what their government is doing in the Southern Ocean and 95% never or rarely eat whale meat. Whaling does not belong in the 21st century and the only way forward for the IWC is to start working for the whales and not the whalers." Sack added.The Esperanza's voyage to the Southern Oceanis the last leg of the Defending Our Oceans expedition , to expose all threats to the oceans, and began in November 2005 by sailing to the Southern Ocean,where activists prevented 82 whales from being killed, and also forced out the companies funding the hunt, by taking peaceful direct action. 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/us

VVPR info: CONTACT: Steve Smith, Greenpeace USA Communications, (202) 465-5352, Karen Sack, (202) 415- 5403; For Photos,http://usaphoto.greenpeace.org/021407whales/ or contact: Melissa Molyneux (202)319-2429

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