NEW YORK TIMES
March 12, 2010
Guard Arrests Anti-Whaling Skipper Japanese Coast
By MARTIN FACKLER and MARK McDONALD
Peter Bethune, a member of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, was brought back to Tokyo by the whaling ship, the Shonan Maru 2, after he boarded it without permission on Feb. 15. Coast Guard officials were waiting for him at the docks in
Mr. Bethune, 44, was being held in Coast Guard custody in Tokyo, said a guard spokesman, Tomoyuki Suzuki, who added that Mr. Bethune had been formally charged with “vessel invasion.” A Coast Guard investigation was under way, he said, and it was expected that Mr. Bethune would be transferred to police custody on Sunday.
Japanese media reports suggested that
Hirotaka Akamatsu, the Japanese fisheries minister, told reporters that Mr. Bethune’s actions were “outrageously illegal behavior.”
“We want to deal with it strictly,” he said.
Mr. Bethune’s arrest was top news in Japan, where Sea Shepherd’s efforts to obstruct whaling ships receive wide publicity, none of it positive. While few Japanese eat whale, public opinion is generally sympathetic to the government’s claims that whaling is part of Japanese culture.
Japan’s program has run into opposition from not only activists but also from the governments of Australia and New Zealand, two staunchly anti-whaling nations that are near the waters where the annual Japanese hunt takes place. Last month,
Sea Shepherd has tried to disrupt
On Jan. 6, a Sea Shepherd vessel, the Ady Gil, captained by Mr. Bethune, was damaged in a collision at sea with the Shonan Maru 2. Video taken from the deck of the whaler showed its collision with the Ady Gil, a sleek black trimaran. Each ship blamed the other for the incident.
On the night of Feb. 15, Mr. Bethune reportedly used a motorized water scooter to approach the Shonan Maru 2, then climbed onto its deck after cutting through an anti-boarding net that was draped around the hull. He presented the captain of the whaler with a bill for $3 million for damages that the Ady Gil had suffered.
Mr. Bethune was put into custody by the crew, who held him for a month as the whaling ship returned to
Coast Guard officials said Mr. Bethune would be able to meet with a lawyer and a
“We are rallying a lot of support in
Martin Fackler reported from Tokyo, and Mark McDonald from
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs