T2 trial update: Witnesses and tall tales
by Allison Kole
March 8, 2010
Outside of the Aomori District Court today, a living statue of Lady Justice stood beside a banner with some of the names of the 500,000 people who have pledged to support the Tokyo Two. Co-defendants Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki walked in to court knowing they have support from all around the world, and walked out with new information that leads us to believe Kyodo Senpaku, government subsidized whaling company, lied to the public and the Fisheries Agency of Japan.
It began with testimony given today by former crew member (Mr. X) of the Nisshin Maru. He is entangled in this case because some of his “souvenir” whale meat was contained in the box of evidence discovered by Junichi and Toru, though he had given it to another crew member. Read more about the investigation, the coverup, and the T2 case.
Although he was a defense witness, Mr. X was not exactly thrilled to be in the Aomori courtroom and was considered a hostile witness. According to his own evidence, he must have taken far more than his “souvenir” allowance in unesu or whale bacon as a crew member. His story has changed in regards to amounts, of whale meat he sent home in boxes, the types of cuts (young whale unesu or less valuable guts and fins), and when he sent them. It seems in order to account for the high number of boxes sent as personal effects, he claimed many of the boxes he sent contained alcohol or ice from Antarctica.
Mr. X was unable to explain why more senior crew members leave with more “luggage” at the end of their journey, boxes and boxes of items loaded immediately by the processing crew onto to trucks after arriving to port. They would not have been able to acquire such a load from gift shopping at ports of call (there are no shopping malls in the Southern Ocean). He also couldn’t explain why a box of whale bacon worth thousands of dollars was labeled cardboard.
He was clear about one thing: Kyodo Senpaku, his former employer, has never contacted him about the whale meat embezzlement case or the T2. The company claims to have launched an internal “investigation “after Greenpeace uncovered the original embezzlement. Kyodo Senpaku arranged their internal investigation on instruction from the Fisheries Agency of Japan which oversees the company. In July 2008, the Agency released a document and announced they were scandal-free and that in the course of the investigation, all crew were interviewed and asked about their personal cargo.
Public support has helped make it possible to hear evidence like this, to help put whaling as an industry on trial. We hope that the Aomori District Court will get the message from our living statue who faced the cold and snow today. Justice is blind, and the judges should not weigh evidence one way because of government involvement.
Follow the latest goings on in the trial on twitter.
Photo with Junichi and Toru at a Press Conference this evening: