Greenpeace Ship Sails into Tokyo Despite “Ban”

Press release - 1 April, 2007
The Greenpeace ship Esperanza, which has been drifting off the coast of Japan for six days, after being effectively banned from going into port, sailed into Yokohama Bay this morning.

Greenpeace staff in Tokyo and crew on board the Esperanza have spentnearly a week  lobbying diplomats,unions and the coastguard in order to work around the actions of the All JapanSeamen’s Union, which resulted in cooperation from ships agents being formallywithdrawn. Greenpeace circumvented normal procedures by organizing all therelevant paperwork and support itself – a task the organisation was originallytold was not possible. 

“We are extremely happy to be coming into Japan and to have the opportunityto engage in debate and dialogue about the issue of high seas whaling,” saidSara Holden, on board the Esperanza. “We did not give up hope that we would beable to get in and we hope the fact that many people were still prepared tohelp us sends a clear signal that Greenpeace is welcome in Japan.”

The Greenpeace ship, which was flying banners that read “We Love Japan,But Not Whaling in a Sanctuary” in Japanese and English, will spend a number ofdays in Japan. Officials from the Fisheries Agency of Japan and the Institutefor Cetacean research have been invited on board the Esperanza to discuss theJapanese government’s whaling programme.

Speaking after the publication of his book on the issue, the ExecutiveDirector of Greenpeace Japan, Jun Hoshikawa said: “One government official hasalready commented on what a pity it is that the debate on whaling is solimited. Now is the time to change that situation. We began a ship-to-shipdialogue in the Southern Ocean and now we will bring that dialogue ship toshore.”

The Esperanza spent seven weeks in the Southern Ocean during the lastwhaling season, during which time the ship and crew remained on standby closeto the fire-damaged whaling factory vessel Nisshin Maru. Help was offered toand accepted by the expedition leader of the fleet and the Greenpeacehelicopter was used to carry out surveys of the encroaching ice and report themback to the disabled ship.


VVPR info: Contacts: In Tokyo, please contactKeiko Shirokawa, Greenpeace Japan Communications: +81 90 3470 7884 Junichi Sato, Greenpeace Japan Whales Campaign Coordinator: +81 80 5088 2990 On Board the Esperanza: Sara Holden, Greenpeace International Communications: + 872 324 469 014 (satellite phone)For Images please contact: Michelle Thomas, in Sydney, Australia: +61 404 096 556