OTTAWA, June 30 /CNW Telbec/ - Greenpeace today will ask the Japanese
Ambassador to Canada to intercede with his government to secure the immediate
release of two Greenpeace activists, dubbed the Tokyo Two.
"We will deliver a request from Greenpeace Canada's Executive Director
and a petition signed by thousands of Canadians to Ambassador Nishida and ask
him to let his government know that Canadians join in the world-wide demand
for the release of the Greenpeace activists," said Beth Hunter Greenpeace
Oceans Coordinator. "Detaining our activists is blatant intimidation, but we
won't back down until they are released and justice is served for Greenpeace
and the whales."
Japanese police conducted an unprecedented raid on Greenpeace's Japanese
headquarters in Tokyo and the homes of activists earlier this month. They
arrested activists Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki for exposing an embezzlement
ring at the heart of the Japanese government's so-called scientific whaling
program. The police raids came on the eve of the meeting of the International
Whaling Commission in Chile at which Japan threatened to call for resumption
of commercial whaling.
The case of the Tokyo Two has gained global attention. Since their
detention, more than 170,000 people around the world have sent protest letters
to Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, and Foreign Minister, Masahiko
Koumura calling for their release.
Today, Greenpeace will protest against the detention of the activists at
the Japanese Embassy in Ottawa. Greenpeace will continue to ask its members
and others to support the call for the release of the activists by writing to
Before the police raid, Sato and Suzuki had cooperated with Japanese
police, offered them information and provided a box of whale meat as evidence
to officials that there is an ongoing operation to illegally sell whale meat
at the expense of Japanese taxpayers.
After a four-month investigation, Greenpeace asked the Japanese
government for a full investigation. The Tokyo public prosecutor initially
said there was sufficient evidence for an investigation but ruled out an
inquiry after the police raids. Greenpeace provided Ambassador Nishida with a
dossier on the investigation by Sato and Suzuki.
"Sato and Suzuki are innocent of any crime," said Hunter. "These
courageous individuals who exposed fraud involving whale meat must be released
Editors: More details on the detention of the Tokyo Two and their
investigation into fraud involving whale meat are available at
Editors: a copy of the Greenpeace dossier on the investigation is at:
Greenpeace will protest today at the Japanese Embassy, 255 Sussex Drive,
between 12:30 and 2:30 and will deliver its letter to the Ambassador at 2 p.m.
His Excellency Tsuneo Nishida
Ambassador of Japan to Canada
Embassy of Japan
255 Sussex Drive
Fax: 613 241-4261
June 30, 2008
Dear Ambassador Nishida,
We are respectfully presenting you, as the representative of the Japanese
Government, with a petition for the immediate release of two Greenpeace
activists, currently held in police detention in Aomori, Japan.
Our petition is part of a global demand, signed by more than170,000
people, asking for the release of Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki, who are
being held without charge since June 20 after exposing a scandal of
stolen whale meat in Japan.
On behalf of Greenpeace, Sato and Suzuki conducted a four-month
investigation into an illegal enterprise in which crew members from a
whaling factory ship took high-value cuts of whale meat and sold it
outside the official program. The investigation showed that the practice
had been going on for years with the knowledge of officials from the
Government and whaling fleet operators.
Sato and Suzuki provided a box of whale meat valued at an estimated
US $3,000 and a dossier on their findings to the Tokyo District Public
Prosecutor on May 15. Initially, the prosecutor said there was sufficient
evidence for an investigation.
Both the Greenpeace activists have willingly cooperated with police in
Aomori and with the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor. They have given
written statements and offered to present themselves to the police at any
Despite this, on June 20, 40 police raided the Greenpeace offices in
Tokyo and the homes of staff members. After police notified media in
advance, both Sato and Suzuki were arrested in Tokyo. Requests for bail
have been twice refused without explanation. That same day, the Tokyo
District Public Prosecutor suddenly dropped the investigation into the
whale meat scandal.
The unnecessary detention of Greenpeace activists for exposing corruption
in whaling along with the Japanese whaling program in the Southern Ocean
have brought global attention to Japan casting a dark shadow over the
international reputation of your Government, just days before you host
the G8 ministers meeting.
Before his arrest in the early hours of the morning Sato wrote a blog on
the Greenpeace Japan website, saying: "If Japan really wants to be an
environmental leader, I ask the Japanese Government to work in a way
which shift this international conflict to international co-operation."
It is a fundamental element of democracy that the rights of
whistleblowers who expose scandals be protected.
We ask you to make urgent representation to your Prime Minister on this
issue and ask for a further investigation into the scandal exposed by
Greenpeace and for the immediate release of Sato and Suzuki.
Bruce Cox, Executive Director
cc. Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura, Foreign Affairs Minister
Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda Prime Minister Stephen Harper
1-6-1 Nagata-cho 1 Chome Office of the Prime Minister
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 80 Wellington Street
JAPAN K1A 0A2
Fax: 011 813 3592 0179 Fax: 613-941-6900
Mr. Masahiko Komura The Honourable David Emerson
Minister of Foreign Affairs Minister of Foreign Affairs and
2-2-1 Kasumigaseki International Trade
Chiyoda-ku Office of the Minister for
Tokyo 100-8919 International Trade
JAPAN 125 Sussex Drive
Fax: 613 996-8924
For further information:
For further information: Brian Blomme, Media and Public Relations
Officer, (416) 930-9055; Beth Hunter, Oceans Coordinator, (514) 569-8391