Saturday, June 21, 2008
I'm uploading this photo I took a couple of months ago in Tokyo fish [and marginally whale] market, because everyone's talking about meat in the corridors outside the meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) here in Santiago.
A lot of people [including IWC commissioners] are upset that Norway and Iceland have recently exported whale meat to Japan despite the fact that these two countries claim that they're defying the moratorium on commercial whaling because of nutritional needs at home. If this is true, why ship the meat across the planet for the Japanese market?
And now we hear from Greenpeace that their offices in Tokyo have been raided, and that two of their Japanese staff, Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki have been arrested after they'd documented something fishy in the Japanese whale meat business.
These two stories are bothering because of the timing. Some suspect that the whale meat exports to Japan are the Norwegian and Icelandic way to send a negative message to the IWC exactly when there is an unprecedented attempt to resolve with Japan the whaling controversy [I don't know if that's true]. Environmentalists also wonder why Greenpeace-Japan was raided by the police in Tokyo on the eve of the IWC meeting, in connection with activities that took place several weeks ago.
Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki are both very nice guys, by the way. I've known Junichi for two years; I invited him to participate in the New York and Tokyo symposia which I helped organize in April 2007 and January 2008, and everyone liked his input. I also met Toru Suzuki in Tokyo nearly a year ago, before he started working for Greenpeace. They're both very cool loving parents of very young children. I sure hope the Japanese police stops over-reacting, and lets them go home.