Japan paid Solomons for whaling support

March 8th, 2008 - 5:28 pm ICT by admin  

Sydney, March 8 (DPA) Solomon Islands Prime Minister Derek Sikua confirmed Saturday what had long been suspected: Japan bought support for its so-called “scientific whaling” programme in the International Whaling Commission (IWC). Speaking in Honiara in a joint press conference with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Sikua said the South Pacific country had not sent a representative to the IWC meeting currently under way in London.

“We are not attending because usually Japan pays for our attendance, but we refused their assistance and therefore we have not gone because we can’t afford it,” he said.

Meanwhile in Canberra, Australian police have been asked to examine claims that Japanese whalers fired shots at Sea Shepherd anti-whaling protesters during a clash in Antarctica.

Japan has challenged Sea Shepherd leader Paul Watson to let Australian police examine a bullet he claimed lodged in his bullet-proof vest Friday.

“It’s difficult, if not impossible, to make judgments about the validity or the weight of claim or counterclaim in the southern ocean many thousands of miles away,” Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said.

“The Australian Federal Police are cooperating with Japanese authorities in evaluating previous incidents, and I assume this most recent incident will also be subject to that and will also be evaluated.”

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