Wikileaks: US and Japan had whaling deal
The United States and Japan reached an agreement in 2009 on whale catches according to documents on Wikileaks.
Japan was willing to catch fewer whales in exchange for the protection of the Japanese whaling fleet against environmental organisations like Sea Shepherd. The deal fell through after Australia announced it would take Japanese whalers to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Australia opposed the deal because Canberra opposes the legalisation of whaling. In spite of a general ban on whaling, Japan catches whales for 'scientific purposes'. But Sea Shepherd claims that Japan is just abusing a legal loophole and the whale meat ends up on sale.
Dutch flag Tokyo thinks the Dutch authorities should also take action to stop the environmental activists, because one of the Sea Shepherd ships sails under the Dutch flag. Back in 2009, then transport minister Tineke Huizinga looked into whether permission to sail under the Dutch flag could be withdrawn on the basis that the environmental organisation was damaging Dutch-Japanese relations. The investigation was announced after a collision between a Japanese whaler and the Sea Shepherd's boat Ady Gil. In the end, no action was taken against the environmental organization.
According to Wikileaks, the US Commissioner at the International Whaling Commission ICW Monica Medina was willing to withdraw the Sea Shepherd's charity tax exemption. She said the move could be defended because of the aggressive and damaging action taken by the environmental activist. A number of non-governmental organisations are exempted from paying tax in the United States because of their idealistic character.
Restraint According to the leaked correspondence, if Japan had been willing cut down on whale catches, the US would have been willing to take measures against environmental activists. This may have been the reason why the US and the Netherlands recently called on both parties to exercise restraint.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide