This statement was reported in numerous media reports today:

Japanese authorities on Sunday admitted the fleet had turned hoses on the activists, who had hurled bottles of paint or rotten butter, but rejected claims that brass and lead balls were thrown at the protesters.

"If our crew can hit them, then they would be better off quitting the research vessel and joining a professional baseball team," Shigeki Takaya, an assistant director of the Far Seas Fisheries Division at Japan's fisheries ministry, said.

Captain Paul Watson Responds: When the next season of Whale Wars airs, these baseball player wannabes will be given their opportunity to show just why they could not be professional baseball players. Baseball is generally a gentle sport and there would be no room for thugs like the ones pelting our small boat crew with golf balls, brass bolts, and lead balls. Video of Japanese whalers throwing objects at the Sea Shepherd crew is posted on the Sea Shepherd website. (to view the video, click here)

On Reports of Japanese Whalers Using Sonic Weapons

Despite the fact that Sea Shepherd has videotaped and photographed the deployment of Long Range Acoustical Devices (LRAD) on each of the whaling ships, the Japanese whalers are refusing to confirm or deny the reports.

One spokesperson admitted the weapon was used when he said that the whalers used water cannons and used "beeping warning tones".

"Beeping warning tones" is Japanese whalerspeak for LRAD. Last year the whalers described concussion grenades as "warning balls."

This report from AAP News Agency:

A spokesman for Japan's government-backed Institute of Cetacean Research would not confirm that the fleet was using sound waves against the activists.

"We can neither confirm nor deny the strategies employed by the Japanese research vessels." Glenn Inwood told Australia's national AAP news agency.

Captain Paul Watson responds: It is a crime for LRAD, a military grade weapon system to be deployed in the Antarctic Treaty Zone.

Both Sides Agree that Whaling Operations Have Been Shut Down

From the Telegraph (U.K.)

"What is important however is that despite the violence from the whalers, no whales are being killed," he added. "They can't get away from us and if we keep on their tail they can't kill whales." Said Captain Paul Watson

Toshinori Uoya, a spokesman for the Far Seas Fisheries Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in Tokyo confirmed that the fleet had been forced to halt its whaling operations but declined to give a figure on how many whales the fleet have already harpooned.

Captain Paul Watson responds: As of 0930 Hours on February 3, whaling operations have been shut down for 48 Hours. The Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin is right behind the Japanese factory ship Nisshin Maru and is chasing the whaler south into the Ross Sea.

###

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