Japan extends detention of Dutch activist

28th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

The Japanese authorities on Tuesday extended the detention of Dutch anti-whaling activist Erwin Vermeulen by 10 days.

He was arrested on 16 December when attempting to film the transfer of dolphins from the sea to holding pens at the Japanese resort of Tajii. An employee claims that Erwin pushed him but there were no other witnesses to this allegation.

Mr Vermeulen is a volunteer with the Sea Shepherd organisation, which has since launched a to obtain his release. The anti-whaling organisation urges visitors to its Facebook account to make calls and write letters to the Japanese foreign ministry and other authorities.

Every year, Tajii is the scene of a massive dolphin hunt, with the Japanese authorities issuing 23,000 licenses to coastal areas for dolphin slaughter. Some animals are sold to aquariums worldwide. Vermeulen had travelled to Japan at his own expense to collect footage of the slaughter.

The Dutch consulate in Osaka has visited Erwin Vermeulen, but so far his relatives have been denied all contact. His sister, Astrid Vermeulen, said:

Mr Vermeulen’s sister fears Japan will keep her brother in custody for the duration of the whaling season,

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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