If Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki have committed a crime by opposing the scandal and corruption of Japan’s whaling program, you must arrest me for assisting them.
All of us who have supported efforts to save the whales with time, money, or by lending our name to letter writing campaigns, petitions, virtual marches, or e-cards are complicit in Junichi and Toru’s actions.
If you are going to start rounding up political prisoners for the crime of defending whales, you will need to arrest a great many people around the world.
On May 15th 2008, Greenpeace Japan used undercover investigators and the testimony of informers to expose that large amounts of prime cut whale meat were being smuggled from the whaling ship Nisshin Maru disguised as personal baggage, labeled “cardboard” or “salted stuff” and addressed to the private homes of crewmembers. Greenpeace activists Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki intercepted one box out of four sent to one address, discovered it contained whale meat valued at up to US$3,000, and took it to the Tokyo public prosecutor.
Their public press conference drew national attention in Japan, and a promise by the public prosecutor to “fully investigate” the charges.
Instead, Junich Sato and Toru were arrested for stealing the box of whale meat, and the scandal investigation was dropped by the Tokyo public prosecutor’s office the same day; it was clear that the two events were connected, just as it is clear that both were politically motivated. Although Junichi and Toru had provided full cooperation to the police, it took some five weeks to make the arrests, and when they did, more than 40 officers raided the Greenpeace Japan office, with the media tipped off by police beforehand. The Greenpeace activists learned of their imminent arrest from the TV news the same day the embezzlement case was dropped.