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Tuesday, June 22

Greenpeace activist facing jail calls for leaders to take political risks at IWC

A Greenpeace activist facing prison for saving whales is calling on leaders to take political risks to rescue the International Whaling Commission and whales ahead of the annual meeting which starts in Morocco today. 

Junichi Sato, Programme Director of Greenpeace Japan, who could be jailed for 18 months for exposing embezzlement within the Japanese whaling industry (1) released a statement this afternoon (NZ time) urging negotiators to improve the current proposal which could legitimise commercial whaling and bring the IWC into the 21st century.

“The IWC has been deadlocked for decades, with Japan, Norway and Iceland setting unilateral quotas and continuing hunts that flout the commercial whaling moratorium.
This year, the International Year of Biodiversity, a unique opportunity to transform the IWC and to phase-out Japan’s reckless Antarctic hunt has emerged through a diplomatic process. The draft proposal can and must be improved in Agadir to become a final deal that keeps whales in the oceans and off of dinner plates.”

“Scandals surrounding Japan’s whaling industry continue to emerge, two years ago, I exposed the embezzlement of expensive cuts of meat, smuggled off Japanese whaling ships and sold on the black market. I was arrested, prosecuted and now face up to 18 months in prison, all for
revealing the true face of my government’s whaling programme.”

“More recently, whistle-blowers have come forward to confirm what we have known for years - that Japan actively engages in vote-buying at the IWC (2).

“The meeting in Agadir can and must save whales, not whaling industries reliant on bribery and embezzlement for survival.”

 Greenpeace is opposed to all commercial whaling and is seeking a positive deal for whales at the IWC. Together with the Pew Environment Group and WWF, Greenpeace has released a briefing paper outlining six fundamental elements which are essential to a positive deal for the whales at IWC 62. 
 
These elements are: an end to whaling in the Southern Ocean; an end to trade in whale meat and products; the elimination of unilaterally-decided whaling quotas’ an end to hunts of endangered whale species; putting science at the center of IWC decisions and’ prevention of objections or reservations by IWC members. A detailed explanation of these six elements can be found here:
http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/oceans/whaling/