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Japan Fisheries Head Not On ABC Radio In Australia

MEDIA RELEASE
19 July 2001.

Japan Fisheries Head Not Interviewed By ABC Radio In Australia

Masayuki Komatsu of the Government of Japan’s Fisheries Agency and alternate Commissioner to the International Whaling Commission today dismissed accusations of bribery and vote buying on the whaling issue.

Mr. Komatsu said that he was not interviewed by ABC radio in Australia on July 18 and questioned the authenticity of the quotes.

“Accusations of bribes and vote buying are false and represent a desperate attempt on the part of Australia and New Zealand to gain support for their sanctuary proposal.”

“The use of such accusations by the Prime Minister of New Zealand and her Minister of Conservation to malign the reputation of another government is of serious concern and \ totally inappropriate,” he said.

Mr. Komatsu explained that Japan is the world’s largest donor providing aid to over 150 countries and that it does not to link this aid to the policies of recipient nations on specific issues.

Mr. Komatsu added that Japanese aid is provided to a number of countries that are opposed to its position on whaling including Brazil, India, Kenya and Mexico and that these countries receive far more aid than that given to Caribbean nations.

“Caribbean members of the IWC support the principle of sustainable use of marine resources consistent with the widely accepted world view of resource use and because at least one of them is a whaling nation,” said Mr. Komatsu.

“The economy of these nations is heavily dependent on bananas so that if these Caribbean nations were doing this solely for economic advantage they would be aligning themselves on the whaling issue with the US and the UK,” he added.

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Mr. Komatsu said: “Australia and New Zealand’s proposal for a sanctuary in the South Pacific has only a minimal level of support so they are resorting to desperate tactics. “Even the Maori in New Zealand have asked the government to withdraw the proposal. This is a major blow to New Zealand. Now they can’t even claim domestic support,” he added.

“Rather than falsely accusing Japan, they should acknowledge that the proposal is frivolous because it has no scientific basis and simply withdraw it to save face.”

Mr. Komatsu said, “Japan is fully committed to implementing the IWC’s management procedure that would provide quotas only for abundant stocks. Japan’s whale research programs are providing valuable information for the management of whales and information on the consumption of fish by whales.”

“This is important information not only for the management of whales but for all of our marine resources,” he added.


For more information contact: Joji Morishita, Deputy Director, Far Seas Fisheries Division, Fisheries Agency, Government of Japan at the Novotel London West, Hammersmith. Ph 0044 208 741 1555

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