Not-So-Breaking News!…Japan Hates Sea Shepherd (Year No. 3)
For the third time in as many years, IWC participants are a captive audience to “IWC goes to the movies”, Japan-style. This year, Japan’s commissioner Kenji Kagawa treated us to a riveting (well, not really) presentation entitled, Don’t Condone Violent Actions by Sea Shepherd Against Japan, which left very little to the imagination as to the content.
“We feel that it’s unfortunate to repeat this comment year after year. Since 2005, Sea Shepherd has been constantly demonstrating against us as we carry out scientific research approved by the IWC and we have been experiencing danger to our ships and crew members. Because of the actions of Sea Shepherd, we have had injuries to our crew members and damage to our vessels. Sea Shepherd has been crashing into us intentionally and other acts of violence. They have boarded our ships illegally, arrested, and have been tried.
In the 2011-2012 season, Sea Shepherd has carried out atrocious and malicious activities. Roping our research vessels, coming close to our ships, sending fire bombs and also aiming various weapons at us. They have bombs with different colors and trying to fire colored smoke bombs at us. Since these activities, we have been receiving several attempts to undermine our scientific activities, and this is a great regret to us. I would like to ask the international community to help and support us in our efforts to end these acts of violence and no longer condone the acts of Sea Shepherd violence.
Sea Shepherd continued its violent activities in the 2012 season as well. They launched glass bottles using high-powered launchers. Again, the Sea Shepherd are caught launching glass bottles against Japanese crew. In fact, during the last season, one of the crew was spattered by spilled Butyric acid when one Sea Shepherd deployed dangerous ropes on our propellers. They deploy them right in front of Japanese vessels and a lot of non-biodegradable materials was used. This is one of the ropes used by Sea Shepherd and retrieved by a Japanese vessel. The purpose of the propeller fouler is to destroy the propeller using metal pipes. These propeller foulers not only threaten safety at sea but could harm the Antarctic environment and ecosystem. This is a quote from the Sea Shepherd website that their tactics are non-violent. But as I have shown you, the group’s tactics are extremely violent.”
(Quote from Japan’s presentation: “The conservation society…will utilize every and all aggressive non-violent strategies and tactics…” – SS homepage News and Media, “Operation Divine Wind” June 30, 2011.”)
“Last year, IWC adopted a resolution on Safety at Sea. It’s a shame that the spirits of the resolution are not fully respected, as you can see from these violent actions. Sea Shepherd takes violent actions including launching propeller foulers and launching projectiles such as glass bottles and signal flares. Law enforcement should be bound by international law in the high seas. But lack of action from flag states have been condoning Sea Shepherd actions. The whaling controversy cannot be used to justify violence Let me end my presentation by quoting part of the resolution which was adopted by consensus last year.”
(“Safety at Sea” Resolution 2011-2 included here)
“So in this manner, we have seen the violence enacted by Sea Shepherd has threatened the safety of vessels at sea, the lives of crew members, and the property of ship owners. These are acts of violence and should not be tolerated by any country that adheres to international maritime law. Based on these acts of violence, we have been unable to carry out our legal research activities. On this point, with regard to the violent activities of Sea Shepherd, we have considered these serious issues and asked appropriate countries to take actions.
At the IMO, we have asked for the adoption of resolution of statements criticizing Sea Shepherd, and have tried to solve this problem under the umbrella of cooperation. In Japan, with regard to violent activity in the past, we have acquired arrest warrants for five activists whose actions have been confirmed. We have asked INTERPOL for the arrest of these five internationally.
The criminal acts of these people have been notified to the secretariat of IMO and during the 2011-2012 seasons, before and after the occurrence of acts of sabotage. We have been approaching the relevant range states with regard to Sea Shepherd sabotage, especially The Netherlands, the flag nation of Sea Shepherd, and Australia, where Sea Shepherd is situated. We have been asking them to take responsible measures so that these acts of sabotage stop and to prevent recurrence of sabotage. Looking at the most recent season, no effective counter-measures have been taken by these relevant governments to prevent the acts of sabotage by Sea Shepherd. We would like to ask for the executive port of Sea Shepherd vessels, and the departure of Sea Shepherd vessels from the ports, and increase monitoring of Sea Shepherd members, and execution of enforcement, and review of preferential treatments they are receiving such as tax relief and subsidies. As for past criminal acts, we would like to take legal relevant acts. I would like to ask governments to cooperate with us for investigations, and seek continuous cooperation. We would like to declare anew that we cannot tolerate acts of violence on legitimate research activities.”
Commissioners cannot resist responding to this ‘scientific research dog and pony show’, mostly for the benefit of their constituents back home. Some can go on the record as taking a stand against so-called ‘scientific whaling’ and maritime safety, while others can advocate for the right to peaceful protest and dissent. The paramour nations never miss an opportunity to demonstrate allegiance to their Japanese sugar daddy with histrionic cries of outrage and effrontery.
As for Japan, it benefits on both fronts. For sympathizers, it demonstrates a degree of international support for its “we hate Sea Shepherd” position with on-the-record statements – a good return on investment of vote-buying yen. Secondly, Japan can use the platform to portray itself as a powerless, victimized nation thrown under the proverbial bus by western racist nations that willfully turn a blind eye to its being bullied by irrational black t-shirt wearing wanna-be pirates.
There are thirty-three Japanese delegates in Panama. Surely at least one of these esteemed gentlemen has heard the quote, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.”
Hey, Japan… it’s time to try something different.
If you’re interested in the always-colorful interventions on this agenda item from IWC commissioners, stay tuned for the next post.