Japan Discovers that Sea Shepherd Obstructs Illegal Whaling Operations

By Captain Paul Watson

Kyodo News Service

 http://home.kyodo.co.jp/modules/fstStory/index.php?storyid=498414

TOKYO, April 30 KYODO

The Japan Coast Guard has obtained an arrest warrant for the head of the anti-whaling Sea Shepherd Conservation Society for allegedly ordering members of the group to obstruct operations by Japan's whaling fleet, investigative sources said Friday.

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I discovered today that the Japanese Coast Guard has issued an arrest warrant against myself for ordering my crew to obstruct Japanese whaling operations in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

It does seem amazing that it has taken five years for the Japanese Coast Guard to discover that Sea Shepherd volunteers have obstructed illegal Japanese whaling operations. We've only been obstructing whaling operations since December 2005 and every year we have been more successful than the year before. This last season we saved the lives of more whales than the Japanese whalers slaughtered and we cost them tens of millions of dollars.

On top of that Japan has been humiliated by the release of "The Cove," a documentary that had its genesis in the 2003 Sea Shepherd campaign that exposed the brutality of the Taiji dolphin slaughter for the first time.

The Japanese government is desperate to stop the Sea Shepherd ships from returning to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary for the 2010 and 2011 season.

There is no doubt that the motives of the Japanese Coast Guard and the Japanese government are political.

Neither authorities in Japan, New Zealand, nor Australia have questioned the Captain of the Shonan Maru 2 for deliberately ramming and destroying a three million dollar Sea Shepherd vessel and almost killing six Sea Shepherd volunteer crewmembers.

There is no case in recent maritime history where a ship has collided with another vessel on the high seas and the captain of the ship responsible has not even been questioned. Captain Peter Bethune is a citizen of New Zealand and he was in command of a New Zealand registered vessel inside the waters of the Australian Antarctic Territory. The vessel Ady Gil was sunk and destroyed by the actions of the Shonan Maru 2, and yet not one representative of these three nations has questioned the offending captain.

Instead, Japan arrested Captain Peter Bethune for confronting the captain of the Shonan Maru 2 and now they have issued an arrest order for me.

When Japan requested that the Australian Federal Police board the Steve Irwin and the Bob Barker to secure evidence for the benefit of Japan they did so. Yet, Japan apparently has refused to board the Shonan Maru 2 to assist the Australian or New Zealand authorities?

Does Australia intend to honor the arrest warrant issued by Japan and will they detain and extradite myself to Japan because Japan demands that they do so?

Whatever happens, one thing is clear: the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society will return to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary to defend the whales from continued illegal whaling activities.

As long as there is a Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, Sea Shepherd crew will continue to patrol and defend the Sanctuary.

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