Japan PM Demands Aus Halt Anti-Whaling 'Sabotage'


Japan’s Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama Tuesday asked his visiting Australian counterpart Kevin Rudd to rein in activists disrupting Japan’s annual whale hunt, describing their actions as “sabotage.”Japan’s whaling fleet left for its annual Southern Ocean hunt in waters south of Australia last month. Japan uses a loophole in an international moratorium that allows killing whales for scientific research.

Militant environmental activists of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society have set out to disrupt the hunt and are this year using a futuristic powerboat which holds the record for the fastest world circumnavigation.Hatoyama told Rudd that the Sea Shepherd actions threaten the safety of the whaling fleet and its crew and requested Australia take appropriate action, according to a Japanese foreign ministry statement.

The statement suggested that Rudd again threatened legal action against Japan over the hunt of the sea giants if “a diplomatic resolution proves difficult,” echoing similar remarks he made last week in Australia.Canberra has threatened to haul Japan before the International Court of Justice or the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. In a radio show last week, Rudd said: “I’ve said that before, I’m serious about it.”But Hatoyama retorted that Japan’s whaling activities complied with international law.

The centre-left Australian leader made the remarks during a brief stopover in Japan on his way to UN climate change talks in Copenhagen.

Japan’s Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada last week defended whaling and asked Australia to understand that it is part of Japan’s heritage.



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