The Japanese government has admitted to using $28 million of donated earthquake and tsunami relief funds to increase security aboard it’s illegal whaling vessels.
Environmental groups such as the Sea Shepherd’s have been waging a non violent war against Japans illegal whaling operations in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Now Japan has responded by placing armed guards and military personnel aboard their whaling ships.
Fisheries Agency official Tatsuya Nakaoku said the extra security was designed to ensure safer hunts.
“We will bolster measures against acts of sabotage by anti-whaling groups so as to stably carry out the Antarctic whaling research,” the fisheries department said after the budget was passed.
Commercial whaling is banned under an international treaty but since 1987 Japan has used a loophole to carry out “lethal research” on the creatures in the name of science.
The whalers plan to kill more than 900 minke whales and about 50 fin whales this season.
A total of 18 Japanese non-government organisations, including the Environmental Lawyers Federation and Consumers Union have signed on to a protest letter to Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.
“We demand the government not waste any more taxpayers’ money on the whaling program, but instead spend this money on projects that actually help the people, communities and region affected by the tragic March 11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis,” the letter said.