Japan urges Netherlands to handle whaling activists
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has repeatedly harassed Japanese whaling vessels.Tokyo – Japan on Monday urged the Netherlands to take action against the Dutch-registered flagship of the Sea Shepherd environmentalist group over its attacks on Japanese whalers in the Antarctic.
Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said he made the request when he met his Dutch counterpart Jan Peter Balkenende, now on his four-day visit to the country.
"I asked as a flag state to handle the obstruction of maritime safety," Hatoyama told reporters at a joint news conference with Balkenende.
The Dutch premier replied: "As to whaling, I explained the Dutch government is working on a change in the law that would make it possible to take adequate measures against Dutch ships that commit unlawful acts."
He added: "We disagree about whaling... but we do not disagree on the importance of safety at sea."
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has repeatedly harassed Japanese whaling vessels as the group's ship rammed into Japanese whalers in Antarctic waters and its crew threw bottles filled with chemicals.
Japan hunts whales by using a loophole in the 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling that allows whales to be killed for "lethal research," and Tokyo often accuses western critics of insensitivity toward its culture.
AFP / Expatica