The Greenpeace ship, Arctic Sunrise, off Pantelleria Island. Photo: Barbara VeigaJunichi Sato, Executive Director of Greenpeace Japan, has publicly condemned Sea Shepherd Conservation Society for accusing the Japanese whaling industry of using funds, earmarked for the Tsunami Earthquake Relief Fund, to provide security for its fleet.

A few days before, Greenpeace claimed credit for exposing the scandal that relief money was being utilized for the support of the whaling fleet. Sato made the following statement:  "Not only is the whaling industry unable to survive without large increases in government handouts, now it's siphoning money away from the victims of the March 11 triple disaster — at a time when they need it most. This is a new low for the shameful whaling industry and the callous politicians who support it."

In response to Japan’s suspect claims that the money came from taxes and not from the relief fund (contradicting the Japanese Fishery Agency release that the funds indeed came from the relief fund), Sato, forgetting his earlier statement, decided to use the opportunity to discredit Sea Shepherd. According to Sato, Captain Paul Watson said on Sky TV that it was "really disgraceful" that the money had come from "people all over the world" who never dreamed how it would be used.

Sato called that claim irresponsible and stated that Watson is not doing conservationists any favors by misrepresenting the truth. Sato claims, "Its about the credibility of the whole anti-whaling movement."

We know some $30 million has been allocated from the Tsunami Earthquake Relief Fund, as stated by the Japanese Fishery Agency, with the justification that rebuilding the whaling industry is a legitimate use of such funds. Now the Japanese government is backtracking, claiming the funds came from taxes. Either way, the question must be asked: when people are homeless because of the disaster, why is $30 million being given to the whaling industry to defend their illegal whaling operation in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary? Either the Department of Foreign Affairs is lying or the Japanese Fishery Agency is lying.

Captain Paul Watson believes that it is irresponsible for Greenpeace Japan to use the contradictory messages from the Japanese government to smear Sea Shepherd.

“Sato should look to his own organization when it comes to questioning credibility over this issue. They raise some $40 million dollars a year on their anti-whaling campaigns and all they do is produce mail-outs asking for funds. They have not sent a ship to the Southern Ocean to hang banners for years. The Japanese whaling fleet will pass right by the Greenpeace ship Esperanza, now in Palau, and Greenpeace will not confront them. This is also a disgrace. The raising of money from the public to pretend to be saving whales and at the same time attacking the only organization that has saved whales in the Southern Ocean,” said Captain Watson. “I have asked Greenpeace to join us in a common cause to oppose the whaling fleet and they have refused.  I have no idea what they do with the millions of dollars they raise to save whales but I do know the funds are not used for saving whales. As for credibility, Sea Shepherd saved 863 whales last year from the harpoons and Greenpeace saved none. That is the only credibility which we are concerned with.”

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