The Latest on the Tokyo Two

by Allison Kole

June 23, 2009

June 18th, 2009 Shinjuku, Tokyo

4:15pm Tokyo


May It Please the Court
Yesterday during the 4th pre-trial hearing in the case of the Tokyo Two, Prof. Dirk Voorhoof defense counsel expert witness, submitted his legal opinion to the District Court of Aomori.  It explained how under principles of the European Court of Human Rights, principles to which Japan has signed onto through the International Convenant of Civil and Political Rights, Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki were justified in their tactics of exposing a whale meat embezzlement scandal.  According to Voorhoof, precedence would show that as campaigners for an NGO, the T2 are protected in their pursuit and obligation to contribute to public debate and democratic society in Japan.  However, whether Voorhoof’s opinion will be accepted as evidence into the actual trial for the T2 is yet to be seen.  See the previous entry of this blog for a summary of the Prof. Voorhoof’s legal opinion or read the complete statement just submitted to court.

Latest Controversy

Prof. Voorhoof was well-received by media at a press briefing regarding his opinion and the human rights implications of the T2 case.  Reporters were also interested in another new development.  On Monday, before the latest pre-trial, at the request of the court, the prosecutor’s office disclosed parts of a written statement given by the crew of the whaling fleet implicated in the whale meat embezzlement scandal exposed by Junichi and Toru. However, the core part of the statement has been whited out.  The judge must now decide whether to proceed in spite of the prosecution’s lack of disclosure.

Read about Greenpeace’s dossier of evidence exposing the scandal, a timeline of events, and more.

Looking Forward

The T2, defense attorneys, and the Greenpeace team must wait for outcomes from this latest pre-trial hearing.  In the Tokyo offce we are preparing events for tonight, tomorrow, and next week that will feature Prof. Voorhoof and Inger Rasmussen, an expert on the role of media and NGOs in democratic soceity.  There will be a briefing at The National Diet Building (parliament), a symposium at Aoyama University, and a reception to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Japan’s ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and other members of the NGO community in Japan will be in attendance with Greenpeace. We hope that through court proceedings, and public events there will soon be justice for whales in Japan as well as justice for whale defenders Junichi and Toru.  Read a statement of concern

from NGOs like Amnesty. 



GP Japan office








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