Japan: Respect Civil and Political Rights
by Allison Kole
February 12, 2010
It has been almost two years since Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki helped uncover a whale meat embezzlement scandal in Japan. This Monday, they will face the first day of their trial for their actions in exposing the essentially government run whaling industry. Today, Greenpeace US became one of many offices worldwide to show support for the Tokyo Two at a Japanese embassy, deliver new information to Japanese officials, and demand that the Japanese government respect the civil and political rights of its citizens, Junichi and Toru.
For more background on the case and whaling in Japan Read Whaling on Trial
On Monday of this week, the opinion of UN Human Rights Working Group of Arbitrary Detention was released. The group agreed that Japan is in violation of the ICCPR, an international agreement where countries have pledged to uphold civil and political rights including freedom of expression.
Read the story
Download the opinion
Japanese Embassy in Romania:
The Japanese government is trying to silence the Tokyo Two. Fortunately, on Wednesday Greenpeace appealed to a civilian review board to have the prosecution reopen the embezzlement case that it dropped when they arrested Junichi and Toru. Today in Tokyo, the Greenpeace International Executive Director released an open letter to Prime Minister Hatoyama urging the new Japanese Administration to stand by its international commitments and give the Tokyo Two a fair trial.
Meanwhile, here at Greenpeace US we delivered the same message to the Japanese embassy in Washington, DC. Embassy officials, who would not identify themselves to us, were painfully aware of the international pressure Japan is and will be facing during the trial and before the verdict (February-May).
The Japanese government has tried and failed to suppress the whale meat embezzlement scandal. It has tried and failed to silence Greenpeace activists. We hope that on February 15th in the courtroom they try something new: hold a fair trial for the Tokyo Two.