- Japan on Monday put out international arrest warrants for three Western
anti-whaling activists who tried to disrupt a controversial whaling expedition
in the Antarctic Ocean in 2007, police said.
natural to seek arrest warrants if it has been judged that a crime took
place," said Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura, the government's
opinions they have about whaling, it is impermissible for them to take such
violent measures which risk the lives of the people involved," he told
said Japan sent to Interpol with court approval the names of three members
of the Sea Shepherd group - Jon Batchelor, 30, and Ralph Anthony Koo, 41,
both from the United States, and Daniel Bebawi, 28, from Britain. Koo
is suspected of hurling a warning flare into the Japanese ship in February
in 2007, while the others are suspected of throwing a rope around the ship's
propeller and blocking navigation, a police official said.
has the authority to send out a "red notice" which alerts all
nations to be on the lookout for a suspect. But
Interpol can refuse to send an alert if it is seen as politically motivated,
according to the global police agency's website. The
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, whose headquarters is in the US state
of Washington, has vowed to stop Japan's whaling, by force if necessary.
It is currently fighting aggressively against Canada's slaughter of baby
in June arrested two members of the more moderate environmental group Greenpeace
on allegations of theft after they took whale meat in an attempt to show
corruption in the government-funded programme.
twist, Sea Shepherd earlier this month put out what it called its own warrant
for the Japanese whalers, saying that the environmentalists would try to
physically stop "illegal" whaling.
Japanese government, which says whaling is part of the national culture,
plans to kill around 1 000 whales a year using a loophole in a 1986 international
moratorium that allows "lethal research" on whales. But
Japan's Antarctic catch came to little more than half of that number last
season due to harassment by activists.
latest season, Sea Shepherd activists hurled stinging acid at the whalers,
lightly injuring three of them, and also hopped onto a Japanese ship, setting
off a high-seas standoff. Japan
has previously demanded that Australia, where Sea Shepherd had docked, take
action against the activists.
and most other Western nations have opposed Japan's whaling, arguing that
it is inhumane and endangers a growing whale-watching industry.