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Four Greenpeace Activists Imprisoned in Japan

Auckland, May 19th, 2000 – The four Greenpeace activists – detained and imprisoned in Tokyo since Tuesday May 9th– will be brought to the Tokyo District Court on Friday, May 19th, to hear whether charges will be brought against them. They were arrested following a peaceful protest against Japan’s world record levels of dioxin emissions After the Court hearing, there will be a decision by the judge whether the four will be released or further detained. The Court hearing starts at 4.00pm Tokyo time.

The four activists, Al Baker (United Kingdom), Marleen van Poeck (Belgium), Clement Lam (Hong Kong/Canada) and Paul Schot (the Netherlands) will make a statement before the judge.

The activists are now being detained in the Japanese substitute prison system, “Daiyo Kangoku”, which has been condemned by Amnesty International. The United Nations Human Rights Committee has also criticised this system in its most recent report on Japan.

Under the Japanese system, suspects can be held up to 23 days without charges even if it is possible that no law has been broken. Greenpeace has issued a formal complaint to the Tokyo Regional Court on the grounds that the detentions ordered are not justified under either international or Japanese law.

Family members of the four Greenpeace activists are arriving in Tokyo in time to be present at the Court hearing. They will to be available for media interviews on Friday.

The Greenpeace action last Tuesday highlighted both the local and global environmental and health implications of burning waste – particularly near where the incinerators are located. Japan has the highest levels of dioxin emissions in the world today, as a consequence of having more waste incinerators than any other country in the world. Dioxins are toxic substances created during the incineration process and are linked to liver cancer and other deadly diseases.

For more information:
Sanae Shida, Executive Director, Greenpeace Japan,
Tel:+81-90 2252 95 28;
Ayako Sekine, Greenpeace Japan Toxics Campaigner,
Jim Puckett, Greenpeace Campaigner, Tel: +81-90-
Juantxo Lopez de Uralde, Greenpeace International
Toxic Campaign Coordinator, Tel: +34 60-946-8954;
Mamie Mutchler, Greenpeace International Legal
Advisor, Tel: +31-20-523 6289;
Mika Railo, Press Officer Greenpeace International, Tel:

Footage and pictures will be available from
Greenpeace International picture desk website

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