Greenpeace to ask Japanese Embassy to help free the Tokyo Two



    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
Japanese officials.
    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
immediately."

    Editors: More details on the detention of the Tokyo Two and their
investigation into fraud involving whale meat are available at
www.greenpeace.ca
    Editors: a copy of the Greenpeace dossier on the investigation is at:
http://www.greenpeace.org/raw/content/international/press/reports/whale-meat-s
candal-dossier.pdf

    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
    Ottawa, Ontario
    K1N 9E6
    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
    time.

    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.


    Yours respectfully,

    (signed)
    ------------------------
    Bruce Cox, Executive Director
    Greenpeace Canada

    cc. Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, Prime Minister Stephen Harper
        Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura, Foreign Affairs Minister
        David Emerson


    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
    100-8968                                Ottawa
    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
                                            Ottawa, Ontario
                                            Canada
                                            K1A 0G2
                                            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


Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890