Wednesday, January 11, 2012

No Whale Sushi For Me

Lose of face? Or just a practical decision?
Japan will hand over to Australia the three Forest Rescue activists who boarded one of its whaling ships last weekend.
Tokyo has decided they won't be charged, despite earlier accusing them of trespassing. No spanking for Geoff Tuxworth, Simon Peterffy and Glen Pendlebury because they didn't injure anyone on the Shonan Maru 2 or damage it, when they dropped by to say "konnichiwa". This follows high-level talks between Oz diplomats and counterparts in Japan's fisheries and foreign affairs ministries.
Tokyo is consulting with Australia on the transfer of the men...but just how that'll happen is a wee problem. SM2 is currently rushing south, chasing SS's Steve Irwin which is chasing Bob Barker which is chasing the nasty Nippon whaling fleet. Japan's Fisheries Agency is reluctant to have SM2 lose touch with SI, so there's only a small window of opportunity for the transfer.
And it's been reported that the trio is on a hunger strike: obviously whale sushi just ain't their cup of green tea.
This has been a nightmare for the Gillard government, which was attacked by the Greens and the opposition, both demanding a government vessel to patrol the whaling grounds. It also had to go head-to-head with Japan over an issue it seems more inclined to dodge these days (or at least leave for the International Court of Justice to rule on, sometime in the never-never).
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says the Southern Ocean patrol ship Ocean Protector, which was in Fremantle on Friday when SI called to refuel, should be sent to keep the peace over whaling, or at least to retrieve the protestors.
Greens leader Bob Brown plans to introduce legislation to require an Oz patrol ship to be on station whenever whaling occurs in an Australian whale sanctuary.
Neither Japan nor Australia wanted a diplomatic incident...which I suspect is exactly what this event was designed to ignite.
PS: 15 Jan.2012 - Prisoner transfer is now complete...

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