You could argue that the world does not need beef to eat, in fact most meat. You could argue that the world does not need fish to eat, but I think it does. Yes, you could argue these points. What you cannot argue to me is that the world needs whale meat to eat, or specifically Japan.
But this is not particularly about the rights or wrongs of whale hunting. Pointless preaching to the already converted. This about the Tokyo Two, two Japanese Greenpeace activists. Yes Virginia, such people do exist.
Toru Suzuki and Junichi Sato are in a spot of bother. David McNeill from Japan Times tells what is happening to them. This was written back in 2008.
Six months ago Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki were ordinary men looking after young families. But in June they were arrested by a large group of uniformed police, taken to a detention center in Aomori Prefecture, northern Japan, and held for 26 days. They were granted bail on July 15 after paying ¥4 million each (AU$52,000), but their release, after an unusual decision by an Aomori judge to hear their case, is highly conditional. Neither is allowed to freely meet or talk to work colleagues, leave home for extended periods or travel abroad. Both are watched by detectives and followed. They can only talk to journalists, separately, in their lawyer's office. Any violation of these conditions will land them back in jail.
It is alleged than whalers on whale hunting ships get to pick the cream of the crop, so to speak, and post it home in parcels where it sells for mega yen on the black market. There are no controls over it whatsoever. Greenpeace wished to expose this, suggesting that some whalers were sending home twenty to thirty boxes with a value of up to US$3000 per box. What a marvellous profit, from taxpayer subsidised whaling expeditions.
Greenpeace decided to intercept one of these parcels to prove their point. It was presented as evidence at a press conference and then handed over to police. And guess what, Sato and Suzuki were arrested for theft and so started a government campaign of harassment of Greenpeace.
This is an absurd over reaction by the Japanese authorities to what is essentially whistle blowing, something that gets some protection in Australia. The Tokyo Two were effectively exposing embezzlement of public money. Why are they being pursued with such zeal by the Japanese authorities?
A court verdict is due on September 6th. Check them out and give them support at their Facebook site, http://www.facebook.com/TokyoTwo Greenpeace Japan (English) is here.