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Greenpeace activists call for fair trial in stolen whale meat case

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So GreenPeace is now the self proclaimed whale police??? Fry 'em, and make them pay restitution plus to the people they stole from...

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In this case I can understand Greenpeace's anxiety. They broke the law a little, in order to expose something they thought would be much bigger. There is a real danger that the trial will focus entirely on their 'criminal' act without touching on their motives. With no linkage, they will be labelled common criminals.

An understanding judge should be aware of the whole situation, but this being Japan, he/she will be expected to keep a rigorously straight face throughout, so we will not know if he/she is in any way sympathetic until the end.

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Civil disobedience means suffering the consequences of your disobedience. Greenpeace should argue for clemency based on the circumstances, but they should not try to excuse the alleged crimes of these people.

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Sato and Suzuki face up to 10 years in jail if found guilty

...of exposing a huge misappropriation of taxpayer money.

'Discipline' a child to death - suspended sentence.

make them pay restitution plus to the people they stole from...

Kyodo Senpan needs to pay restitution to the taxpayer for the years and years of whalemeat theft they supervised.

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I'm confident the courts will consider the motive, and more importantly, that the stolen goods were immediately taken to the police and handed over to them. Presuming that neither suspect has a prior record or outstanding suspentence, I would expect they'll get a suspended sentence at most.

Personally, I admire their motive, but not their action. They illegally entered and stole from a transport company wholly unconnected with any whaling operations - a company that many of us rely on for delivery of both business and personal goods. They damaged the reputation of the transport company, and should at the very least admit their actions were wrong and apologize to Seino.

Other than this particular incident, I generally admire Green Peace and their non-violent approach to ending whaling in Japan.

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"suspentence" above should read: "suspended sentence". (I'm sure you all guessed that, right? ;-)

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This case is rather awkward. Their intentions were noble, but their means was illegal (if not questionable). I hate myself for saying this, but they should accept the consequences of their actions. These two shall become new-age martyrs of sorts.

I can't say I wouldn't do the same - putting my neck on the cutting board for what could be the greater good. The most I can do for them is wish the good luck.

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Japanese specialize in the art of the coverup. They will have changed records and everything will look like the "bonus" was reported and legal.

The Greenpeace guys could walk because there is a lot of international focus on this trial, thanks to GreenPeace.

Flip a coin.

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How can you be accused of stealing something that was illegally obtained in the first place. Hope these dudes do not do time for this

Interesting comparison to the dealings of Ichiro Ozawa and it reminds of the words of Bob Dylan from "Jokerman" from the album Infidels

"They say that patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings.Steal a little and they throw you in jail .Steal a lot and they make you king"

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Green Peace keeps breaking the laws around the world. Whales are no more special than cows and pigs and other animals and vegetables. We are higher up in the animal kingdom, and if we want to eat whale, we eat it. I never snuggled up to a whale and none have to me. Now Dogs, they are cool. I have eaten them though too, but it was not my own pet. It was raised to be slaughtered and eaten. You can have a pet Yak or Sheep, but when it comes down to who is eaten first, it is them and not us. GP needs to focus on other stuff, like cotton and corn. Plants have feelings too according to GP

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How can you be accused of stealing something that was illegally obtained >in the first place

How was it illegally obtained? And if it were, why was the whaling ship not stopped, charged and prosecuted at the time?

The intent and motive no matter how grand does not justify breaking laws. Otherwise we could rid the entire planet of all crime by just shooting criminals on sight.These guys will be prosecuted for breaking and entering and theft. Whales are irrelevant to the charge. But as others have pointed out, assuming they don't have any prior records they'll probably get off easy.

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First off - why are they protesting for a "Fair Trial". So, the assumption is that their colleague will not have a fair trail? WHy this up-front assumption?

Respect International Law? What about their lack of respect of the whalers? They attack these ships and put human lives at risk in their "Nobel" attempts to save the whales. Look, I don't agree with whaling either, but human life is more valuable.

The whalers can care less about these protesters, so to say that the Whalers are at fault for "Attacking" Greenpeace is rubbish. It is Greenpeace who sends their ships out and it is these ships who begin harassing the whalers, throwing acid and other things at the ships, and finally, position their vessels in such a way that risks lives on both sides - all for whales? There are other ways of attacking this problem w/out putting human lives at risk.

Finally, the issue at hand is, did Sato and Suzuki commit theft? Why take the meat? Why not take pictures? They broke the law by entering the facilities illegally. They broke the law for taking something that was not theirs.

If I go FedEx and take a box from their warehouse, I am committing a crime. Doesn't matter if I say, "I'm only taking this as part of my investigation".... BS.

With that argument, let me go to BicCamera and do some "Investigating" of my own....You know, I want to see if LED TVs are really as they are said to be, I'm only taking it to "Investigate" a possible lie by TV manufactures and I want to expose their false-advertisements.

Come on - I can respect what Greenpeace stands for, but I cannot respect how they are going about their ways - At this rate, they are no different from terrorists - imposing their beliefs on others by way of force, crime, and little regard to human life.

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above poster; Greenpeace is not SeaShepherd. long post off topic.

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CandleStickPark -

Greenpeace has never 'harassed' the whaling ships or thrown acid at anyone or anything. You're confusing them with Sea Shepherd.

So, the assumption is that their colleague will not have a fair trail? WHy this up-front assumption?

Considering the failure to conduct any investigation of the accusations of pilfering by the crew with the tacit approval of Kyodo Senpaku, it's pretty obvious that people in high places are more interested in CYA than in anything resembling a fair trial.

The first step to a fair trial is getting the right people in the dock.

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The activists took the meat to prevent it from being stolen and resold.

They went straight to the prosecutors with the evidence. These guys would be given a medal if they had taken a box of stolen grapes from a company they suspected were grape thief's.

sour grapes...

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cleo at 01:04 AM JST - 9th February Greenpeace has never 'harassed' the whaling ships or thrown acid at >anyone or anything. You're confusing them with Sea Shepherd.

Aha, you DO recognize the difference! :)

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Aha, you DO recognize the difference!

The difference is how many whales Greenpeace has saved the past couple of years vs how many SS has saved.

If the whalers paid any attention to polite 'please stop it's, then Greenpeace's tactics would work and there'd be no need for SS.

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They want a "fair trial" because they and everyone else knows that this court will "railroad" these guys to make an example of them. I wouldn't be shocked with a disproportionately long sentence.

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The difference is how many whales Greenpeace has saved the past couple >of years vs how many SS has saved. If the whalers paid any attention to polite 'please stop it's, then >Greenpeace's tactics would work and there'd be no need for SS.

Well just exactly how many is that? Is there a reliable and objective counting method of saved whales? I doubt very much either GP or SS have had any significant effect. While you may argue that GP's "please stop" may not have had any effect, at least GP hasn't painted the conservationists as a bunch of lawless eco-terrorists as SS has. If anything, it's turned off alot of people who are against whaling but also against criminal activity and violence as a means to express it.

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I think these people are confusing 'fair trial' for 'fair prosecution'.

Life is unfair isn't it? these activists who get very little financial reward in return for breaking the law to expose another unlawful conduct while awaiting trial, while the makers of the 'Cove' documentary broke the law and made millions in the name of 'global awareness'.

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above poster; Greenpeace is not SeaShepherd

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society was founded in 1977 under the name Earth Force Society, by Paul Watson, an early member of Greenpeace, after a dispute with that organization over its lack of more aggressive intervention........... Are they very different?

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Is there a reliable and objective counting method of saved whales?

The quota Japan sets for itself minus the actual number taken. Last season that was about three hundred, if I remember rightly. That figure doesn't take into account the number of struck-and-lost that escape to die slowly of their injuries.

at least GP hasn't painted the conservationists as a bunch of lawless eco-terrorists

Ironic then that it's GP members in the dock.

Are they very different?

Maybe you should reread your own explanation. If they were no different, Watson would still be a leading member of Greenpeace.

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I wouldn't be shocked with a disproportionately long sentence.

I'm also worried this maybe the case. They can be seen as traitors, who sold their country to help foreign terrorists. If they receive long sentences for this, I will have absolutely no doubt that J gov is made of yakuza fisherman.

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You know, if these guys broke into a food storage wharehouse to expose mislabeled or poisoned Chinese foods, they would be heros. However, Japan feels the need to make a show of strength with these two. Japan also needs to be careful how they sentence these two. The world is watching and is already pissed by human rights violations. - Criminals exposing criminals. Why is the person responsible for embezzling the whale meat not on charges too?

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Another reason to support Seasheperd's actions. Greenpeace has miscalculated what would of happen if the package contained actual whale meat. Those two guys in jail are in there because of this miscalculation. Greenpeace's peaceful political methods is less likely to work than Seasheperds rammings and physical harresment.

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If they broke into FedEx or the post office to expose mislabeled Chinese foods, FedEx or the post office would still be extremely pissed and would insist on prosecution.

Even the police require search warrants.

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taj - you hit the nail on the head....That's what this is ultimately about - sure the side topics are a great debate as well, but in the end, these two people broke the law in order to get their evidence.

They broke the law. They put themselves above the law.

Do I agree with Whaling? No - But I also do not agree with Anarchy and the free rain of people breaking into my house just to make sure I'm not breaking the law.

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[The Japanese government reacted to that finding by saying that while everybody has the right to express his or her opinion, nobody is allowed to commit a crime for the purpose of expression of such opinion.]

This sounds like what Ossan always tries to tell the great defender of Sea Shepherd and her criminal activity whose name shall remain nameless but begins with H. If you think some guys are going into a bank to rob it you do not have the right to go and shoot them dead. Your suspicions could be totally wrong and your actions would be totally wrong even if your suspicions were correct. And if you took money that they stole to "conduct your own investigation" that also would be you stealing.

Suspecting embezzelment of whale meat is no good reason to commit theft. These whalers risked their lives and were given some of the meat as a bonus. That's their reward for doing a dangerous job. They can eat it, sell it, share it with friends or test it for mercury if they so desire. GP's suspicions do not give them carte blanche to break the law to conduct "their own investigation". Isn't that the idea you same liberals like to say on other threads that involve for example US citizens taking the law into their own hands if they own a gun. You seem to be very against in that case but selectively choose to ignore the law in other cases.

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[these two people broke the law in order to get their evidence.]

Yes these same people would have cried foul if it were a Watergate Scandal. That got Nixon impeached.

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bushlover - These whalers risked their lives and were given some of the meat as a bonus. That's their reward for doing a dangerous job. They can eat it, sell it, share it with friends or test it for mercury if they so desire.

I thought it was for research and not for consumption.

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No the carcass is for research but the meat has to be sold for consumption. That is the deal so as not to have it killed and wasted. Actually many parts are sold for food. Some organs also.

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"I thought it was for research and not for consumption."

IWC rules state that all by-product of research must be used. Like it or not, that's the rule/loophole.

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These whalers risked their lives and were given some of the meat as a bonus. That's their reward for doing a dangerous job.

Surely they get a salary.

IWC rules state that all by-product of research must be used.

Used, not dished out as backsheesh to insiders. As long as the Japanese government is subsidizing the whalers with taxpayer money, they have no right to give the meat away.

If the whalers thought what they were doing was legal and above-board, they would not send their boxes of whalemeat out labelled 'cardboard'.

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"Used, not dished out as backsheesh to insiders."

Not too many other people want it, if reports of large stocks of the meat being used for dogfood have anything to them.

If the contents were being shipped internationally as "cardboard" rather than "meat", these guys would be in serious trouble. Domestically, ... wouldn't it need to go by "cool-bin" anyway? And why would you ask a shipping company to refrigerate cardboard? Something very fishy about that, claim,...

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taj -

Not internationally, they were sending it from the ship in port to their own homes. No need for refrigeration as the meat was salt-preserved (apparently the port shops do a roaring trade in preserving salt prior to the fleet moving out). All the 'official' meat is frozen.

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Thanks for the additional info, Cleo.

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Lets get realistic here. These 2 guys,with no previous criminal record, trespassed on to the property of Seino Delivery Co. Hardly the crime of the century. They were held in custody for 26 days without being charged.

They were wrong trying to play cops but surely have been penalised enough already.

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They have no criminal records? You know that? (either a link or your word as someone in-the-know, would be acceptable to me.)

Have they been penalized at all? the standard 3 weeks of interrogation so far, right? If someone broke into my place of business and started poking around and removing things,... I'd be screaming bloody murder. And then, they shout about it to the press as loudly as possible. Ouch!!

Seriously, that Sato & Suzuki were able to get in and take stuff out - what does that say about the security of said shipping company? How confident will other customers feel aboutr sending sensitive documents or expensive goods through such an insecure distribution system. This crime was not committed against anyone to do with whaling remember. Seino were the innocent victims.

I doubt that Seino will bring a civil suit, though they certainly could. I imagine that they've seen this in print quite enough already.

CandleStickPark has it exactly right, above. Anarchy is not an acceptable alternative.

A small slap on the wrist warning shall be sufficient, but the wheels of justice must grind forward.

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geezus, When will this country stop being so backwards and outdated?! For all I know, the j-judicial system is draconian and a real joke if they think they can give these two men 10 years in jail. HA! 10 years my A$$! MMm-Hmm! Like cleo said, japanese child murderers get a mellow suspended sentence, while these two are facing 10 years?! Are you kidding me? Shame on you, japan.. once again.

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bushlover said: No the carcass is for research but the meat has to be sold for consumption. That is the deal so as not to have it killed and wasted.

That is the official story. Actually its just to get around the whaling ban. Killing whales to study them is not necessary. Enough get beached anyway. And killing them to see if numbers are self-sustaining is beyond dumb, or would be. But that is not the goal.

It sounds like the blokes pilfered and now the company is covering it up.

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@KyokoSmile: I hate to say this to you, but Japan is far from backwards and outdated. Have you not seen what is happening in Iran? Heck, even Mexico you are guilty until proven innocent...Yes, read that well, GUILTY until proven otherwise...so, 26days in jail is nothing - you can be there for decades if you cannot prove you are innocent.

China is even more "outdated" where the family of the executed must pay for the material used in order to perform the execution (i.e. the bullet used to kill). What about the 1-child policy there?

Honestly - many of you criticize Japan but I don't see husbands beating their wives in the middle of the street and it being considered OK if the wife just so happened that the wind blew her face covering open, thus allowing the public to see her face.

Yes, Japan has many problems - as does any other country. But I am not talking about Society and their beliefs, I am talking about the Law, and Japan is far from "Backwards" and "outdated". Does it have problems, sure...so does the UK, the USA, Germany... Which Government is perfect? Tell me this and I'll be more than happy to join the ranks of an Illegal Immigrant and venture into that country - it's a perfect government, after all, Illegal Immigration problems would have been solved in the "perfect" way...whatever that means.

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CandleStickPark, I think Kyoko has a good point. If those guys gets jail sentence, it will proof that Japan is going backwords and is very outdated and not fair. If those two guys are crucified for cooperating with foreign terrorists and dare to stick their noses into where they don't belong, it will tell great deal about J-gov. It's obvious that their intention was not stealing, oppositely it was to uncover theft. What other government agencies are getting these kinda bonuses? If they were mining gold, would employees be allowed to take some home?

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"....and a real joke if they think they can give these two men 10 years in jail. HA! "

Dear KyokoSmile, The "up to 10 years" listed above will be in reference to sentencing limitations(maximum punishments for each type of crime), written into the laws to ensure common standards in punishments. This is an important part of NOT being backwards. By NO means does it imply that these guys are likely to get ten years. It doesn't even imply that the prosecution is asking for 10 years. I'm very confident they are not. The only reason that the maximum available sentence for a B&E + theft is included in the article, is to make it more provocative.

And you have apparently been provoked.

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Damien15: We'll just have to agree to disagree - what you are saying is a lot more backwards than my view - as you suggest it is OK for anyone, as long as their intentions are not to break the law, can do as they wish. You also suggest that citizens are to take the law into their own hands - why stop there? Why not make citizens judges and executioners as well?

These men committed a crime - sure, not murder, not grand theft auto - we can say simple trespassing and "light" theft; nevertheless, they broke the law.

Now, add to that, their decision was to take the laws into their own hands. To circumnavigate a system of laws that govern society - i.e. anarchy. They decided to do as they wish because they felt they were justified in doing so.

If feel very justified in punching a drunk guy on the train for causing a ruckus - in spite of how I feel, the law does not permit me to do this... this is a good thing - otherwise everyone will be doing as they please because they feel justified, i.e. Anarchy.

So, to you, Damien15, and Kyoko...Anarchy is not progressive and is more backwards than what Japan has in place.

Again - Japan is not perfect, but it is far from a "backwards" country as you suggest....

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geezus, When will this country stop being so backwards and outdated?!

Probably, “never.” I completely gave up on my life in Japan. The government keeps screwing up its citizens, and they don't know how and when to stop.

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amerijap: And Obama is doing better? "There will be no more taxes with this universal healthcare" - Oh, and I suppose the USA will simply print more money to pay the doctors for all their work? Glad you left Japan!

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Yesterday I gathered with around 200 or so people (inc 1 other gaijin) to discuss mercury poisining from whale and tuna meat. This 23 kg of meat is likely to contain at least 10 and maybe 20 times the Japanese legal limit of mercury. Preventing people from eating this stuff is doing them a massive service!

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amerijap: And Obama is doing better? "There will be no more taxes with this universal healthcare" - Oh, and I suppose the USA will simply print more money to pay the doctors for all their work? Glad you left Japan!

Probably, you'll never know how much Japanese people have to live their lives through cultural constraints and mental anguish at schools as well as the workplaces. It’s extremely draconian, excruciating, and tormenting. Economic status is just one of the indexes for people to know the status of country.

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