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As an Australian in Japan, I am embarrassed by the actions of our government in dealing with the antiwhaling protesters in the Southern Ocean. Whatever views people have about whaling, it does not give them the right to endanger people’s lives.

As any person with sea experience will tell you, it is extremely dangerous to be at sea without the ability to navigate. The protesters, in their efforts to disable the whaling vessels, are putting the crews of these vessels in danger. It is particularly dangerous in the area where these ships are, as high seas are common. Do you think that an Australian ship would tolerate protesters trying to disable it in international waters because they did not agree with Australia’s involvement in Iraq?

Since Australia has handed back the protesters who boarded the Japanese whaling ship, the Australian government is effectively saying it is OK to illegally board and attempt to damage vessels in international waters. Therefore, I assume that the Australian prime minister cannot complain if protesters attempt to disable his official car; if caught, they should be released without charge. Any protests against Australian embassies should also be tolerated and people should feel free to throw objects at embassy buildings as this seems to be — according to the Australia government — a legitimate form of protest. At least the embassy building will not be in danger of sinking.

My advice to Japanese is to take their holidays in Hawaii until Australia learns some manners and has respect for their friends.

greg atkinson