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Wikileaks: Sea Shepherd tax exemption status targeted by Japan in whaling compromise deal
Cables released by wikileaks on January 1st, 2011 reveal Japan was pressuring the US Government to remove Sea Shepherd's tax exemption status as a sweetener to negotiating a compromise deal in the International Whaling Commission that would have reduced whale quotas but legitimated commercial whaling.
The cables reveal the US Government and Japan were deeply involved in a compromise deal on whaling which would legitimate a commercial catch quota for Japan. The cables reveal Australia has remained steadfast against any moves to legitimate whaling in the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary or Australian Antarctic Territory.
In a meeting on November 2, 2009 Japanese Vice Minister for International Affairs Shuji Yamada pressured the US for removal of tax exemption status from Sea Shepherd.
(Excerpt from 09TOKYO2529 Created 2009-11-02)
In another cable dated 9 November 2009 (09TOKYO2588 Created 2009-11-09) stated "action by the U.S. and others on Japan's complaints against the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society would positively influence Japan's negotiating position in the Future of the IWC process."
This cable is a report of a meeting between Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and U.S. representative to the International Whaling Commission Monica Medina and Fisheries Agency of Japan Director General Machida who said that "the violent protests by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) could limit the GOJ's flexibility in the negotiations. He said the Netherlands should have primary responsibly for taking action against the SSCS, but he appreciates the USG initiative to address the group's tax exempt status. He said action on the SSCS would be a major element for Japan in the success of the overall negotiations.
Ms Medina replied that "she believes the USG can demonstrate the group does not deserve tax exempt status based on their aggressive and harmful actions."
In a State Department cable on whaling: request for political engagement the US was willing to concede continuation of whaling at reduced levels in exchange for taking action against Sea Shepherd:
(Excerpted from 09STATE117709 Created 2009-11-14)
A cable on January 27, 2010 from the US Tokyo embassy of discussions with MOFA State Secretary Fukuyama and Fisheries Agency Deputy Director General Yamashita was about pressing Iceland to lower its proposed quota for whaling in order to facilitate an overall agreement on whaling. The US wanted Japan to talk to and pressure Iceland to reduce the number of fin whales killed as the kill numbers is greater than the demand in Japan. Japan was reluctant to do this. Again Japan raised the issue of pressuring Sea Shepherd :
(Excerpt from 10TOKYO171 Created 2010-01-27)
Australia Cool on Whaling Compromise deal
It seems Peter Garrett, the Australian Environment Minister, stood his ground against the compromise deal (10CANBERRA93 created 2010-02-05), although it appears the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade were keen on the compromise deal as a way of reforming the IWC (and perhaps earning some brownie points with the US). Environment Department Chief of Staff David Williams gave a small amount of ground when he outlined a negotiating position for the Australian Government that "delivers a much lower level of whaling, but it has to be accompanied by signals of commitment to address other key issues - sustaining the commercial moratorium, keeping whaling out of the southern sanctuary areas and Australian antarctic waters, bringing all whaling under the control of the IWC, and preventing future scientific whaling." Even this small degree of compromise would be found politically objectionable to many conservation minded Australians.
(Excerpted from 10CANBERRA93 created 2010-02-05)
The five diplomatic cables reveal the two toned nature of the US Government position where it publicly states it's opposition to whaling while it is engaged deeply in negotiating a compromise deal with Japan that would legitimate commercial whaling again.
Photo of the Steve Irwin in pursuit of the Yushin Maru 3 courtesy Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR)