Greenpeace chief defends members’ actions

Kyodo News

The head of Greenpeace Japan on Saturday defended two group members arrested Friday for alleged theft, saying they saw an urgent need to stop an alleged whale meat-smuggling operation involving a government-sponsored whaling program.

“If there is a sense of urgency to prevent criminal acts by the government and major companies, it is standard among nongovernmental organizations around the world to take action that may result in the infringement of law,” Jun Hoshikawa, the executive director of Greenpeace Japan, said at a news conference held in Tokyo.

Greenpeace International said in a statement issued the same day that Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki “have committed no crime, other than to challenge powerful forces within the whaling industry and government and draw attention to the waste of hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ yen subsidizing a corrupt operation in the Southern Ocean Whaling Sanctuary.”

Sato and Suzuki have admitted to taking a package of whale meat from an office of a trucking company. But they denied stealing it and said rather that it was “secured as evidence” of the smuggling, police said.