Grant Piper’s letter “Activists who act like terrorists” brings to mind a certain phrase attributed to former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark: “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. ”
Specifically I don’t concur with Piper’s statement that “If they [Greenpeace activists] want my understanding, sympathy or support, then illegally boarding ships on the high seas, trespassing and damaging private property on land or at sea like a troop of unsupervised juvenile delinquents is not the way to do it.”
I don’t follow the activities of Greenpeace, but with regard to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, I believe it plays a vital role in curtailing the illegal activities of Japan’s whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary, which is in Australia’s economic zone. Japan has thus far refused to be moved by diplomatic efforts to end its whaling program and shows no sign of doing so.
While one can’t deny that boarding ships may seem like a dubious tactic (New Zealand skipper Peter Bethune’s doing so in 2010, with or without orders, is a case in point), it can’t be denied that Japan’s agriculture and fisheries department has blamed intervention by Sea Shepherd for its record low catch this year.
Sea Shepherd now uses Australia as its base with the full support of most Australians. Australia is a country that, until 1978, was also a leading whaling nation, but now it leads the way in far more profitable eco-tourism and whale-watching initiatives.
Japan’s persistent and outdated expeditions into the Southern Ocean offend the sensibilities of most Australians and New Zealanders — lending credence again to Ramsey Clark’s words.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.