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NZ says Japan has opportunity to explain

19 July 2001 Media Statement

NZ says Japan has opportunity to explain its tactics at IWC meeting

Prime Minister Helen Clark says Japan has the opportunity at next week's International Whaling Commission meeting to explain the relationship between Japan's development aid to small countries and the link which that appears to have to voting behaviour at the Commission.

"A very senior Japanese fisheries official, Mr Komatsu, has publicly admitted that Japan uses ODA money to influence other countries on whaling issues.

"In an interview on Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme today, Mr Komatsu again argued that Japan Fisheries Agency's aid tactics were legitimate in promoting its case to maintain whaling.

"I am sure that many countries will share New Zealand's concerns about Mr Komatsu's statement. Development aid should not be used as an inducement to join up to the IWC, nor to vote in a certain way once there.

"The IWC has always been an organisation on whose integrity we can rely. All members must uphold that integrity.

"The IWC meeting offers Japan an ideal opportunity to explain Mr Komatsu's statements.

"New Zealand will push strongly at the IWC meeting for the creation of South Pacific and South Atlantic whale sanctuaries. We would be appalled if the fate of these great mammals were to be determined by a few pieces of silver," Helen Clark said.

ENDS

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