Jail Time Proposed for Whale Defenders

by Allison Kole

June 8, 2010

Yesterday in Aomori, Japan the trial of whale defenders Junichi and Toru — the "Tokyo Two" — came to a close.

During the long trial, the defense outlined the meticulous investigation by Junichi and Toru into whale meat embezzlement, and in this way put whaling on trial. Whistleblowers and even hostile witnesses corroborated the evidence the Tokyo Two found in 2008. The evidence has been overwhelming and would under normal circumstances in any democracy would lead to an acquittal. The request by the prosecution for 18 months in jail is outrageous and politically motivated. If imposed, the sentence would be the longest jail term for any Greenpeace activist — ever. The Japanese government is aware of the evidence put forth in this case and the outpouring of support for the innocent activists, yet they continue to try to silence the Tokyo Two to support their whaling program.

Not only have outraged and sympathetic citizens taken action on behalf of the Tokyo Two worldwide, but human rights groups, and legal experts and politicians including Desmond Tutu have condemned the unjust arrest of the Tokyo Two.

Even the United Nations Human Rights Council Working Group on Arbitrary Detention stated that the 26-day detention of Junichi and Toru violated their human rights. How can Japan request jail time when it has already violated the the rights of the Tokyo Two through their detention? A request for jail time is a disrespect to accepted international human rights standards, and not to mention, disproportionate to the alleged crime of taking a box.

We acted peacefully and only in the public interest – to gain evidence of embezzlement of whale meat paid for by the Japanese public. As a signatory to international human rights treaties, Japan must uphold our right to take such action and we trust the court will recognise this in its decision.” — Junichi Sato.

The demand for jail comes just as crucial talks are to begin at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in Morocco where Japan deals internationally to continue its corrupt whaling program. Around the world people are calling for an end to whaling and an end to the prosecution of the Junichi and Toru, two of the boldest whales and oceans defenders. TAKE ACTION! Demand justice for the Tokyo Two and the whales.

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