I have to say that it is certainly flattering when a nation as powerful as Japan stoops to the pettiness of waging a war costing tens of millions of dollars against one small little non-governmental organization like ours.
In a statement to the media, former Japanese Whaling Commissioner Masayuki Komatsu declared a preemptive victory against Sea Shepherd, going as far as to say that their presence in the Antarctic at this point is primarily to make Sea Shepherd's "final" season at sea as costly as possible, and that whaling has become secondary.
So, first it was about research, and then the Japanese Foreign Minister slips and says that the whaling is about tradition and for whale meat for the Japanese market, and now Komatsu says it's actually about defeating Sea Shepherd.
Komatsu then goes on to say that Sea Shepherd's actions may have done more harm to their cause than good by indirectly causing the repeal of the whaling ban.
This is amazing. What he is saying is that because we aggressively opposed their illegal whaling activities, the members of the IWC have decided to legalize their illegal activities, because Sea Shepherd intervened to stop the illegal activities that the IWC members did not have the political will to stop themselves.
Komatsu said that this would be Sea Shepherd's "final" year of opposing Japan in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
We shall see! Sea Shepherd's position is that as long as whales are being killed in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, Sea Shepherd will protect and defend the Sanctuary. After all, the area has not been designated as the private hunting reserve for the Japanese Whaling fleet.
Whatever the hurdles, whatever the obstacles, whatever the tactics the Japanese whalers and the Japanese government attempt to block us, we intend to find a way to overcome whatever barriers they throw up before us. We will never abandon the whales, and we will never retreat from the Sanctuary. For as long as a Japanese whaling ship remains in the Southern Ocean, there will be Sea Shepherd ships to oppose them.
Komatsu said that Japan has muscled the IWC into repealing the moratorium on commercial whaling, and once the ban is repealed it would invalidate the argument used by activists of the Sea Shepherd organization to justify the sabotage of whaling efforts in the Antarctic Ocean.
Komatsu therefore acknowledges that Sea Shepherd is justified in opposing their operations because of the moratorium. In other words, Komatsu has validated Sea Shepherd's intervention.
The Sea Shepherd ship Bob Barker continues to pursue the Japanese factory ship Nisshin Maru in the Southern Ocean.
Tomorrow will mark the 20th day without a single whale being killed by the Japanese poachers in the waters of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
Komatsu's statement that the whalers are trying to make Sea Shepherd's activities as costly as possible is ludicrous. Sea Shepherd is not a profit-making corporation and we spend what resources are available to us on our campaign, no more and no less. Cost is not a factor. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is getting stronger every year. This year, Sea Shepherd fielded three vessels and lost one. Next year we may have four vessels. As for the loss of a vessel, the Shepherd position is that boats are expendable - the whales are not!