Greenpeace investigation: Japan’s stolen whale meat scandal

A four-month-long undercover investigation by Greenpeace uncovers some of the whaling industry's dirtiest secrets -- including embezzlement of whale meat from the taxpayer-subsidized program.

16TH APRIL 2008, AOMORI, JAPAN GREENPEACE JAPAN WHALE CAMPAIGN COORDINATOR JUNICHI SATO WEIGHING 23.5KGS OF STOLEN WHALE MEAT FOUND IN A PERSONAL BOX FROM A CREW MEMBER ON BOARD THE NISSHIN MARU WHALING FACTORY SHIP. THE CONSIGNMENT SHEET CLAIMS THE BOX CONTAINS “CARDBOARD”. GREENPEACE OBTAINED THE BOX FOLLOWING A FOUR MONTH UNDER COVER INVESTIGATION INTO ALLEGATIONS OF LARGE SCALE THEFT OF WHALE MEAT FROM THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT SPONSORED WHALING PROGRAMME IN THE SOUTHERN OCEAN. © Greenpeace

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Executive summary: The Greenpeace evidence shows a systematic, large scale operation on board the whaling factory ship Nisshin Maru, to steal whale meat processed from the Southern Ocean hunt. It is believed the practice has been taking place for many years. During the course of the investigation, Greenpeace obtained a box of stolen whale meat as proof of the fraud.

The box contained 23.5kgs of whale meat. Known as “Unesu” in Japanese, the meat is preserved in salt, rather than the official preserving method of freezing.

The box obtained by Greenpeace was one of four boxes, claimed to be “personal baggage” sent to a home address via an express delivery company by an employee of Kyodo Senpaku who was a crew member on board the Nisshin Maru during the 2007/2008 Southern Ocean expedition. The value of this one box is between $1,000 and $3,000. Further investigation has established that more than 23 crew members sent at least 93 boxes of “personal baggage” to at least 30 destinations.

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