MFAT complains to Japan about whaling

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully.
Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has contacted its counterparts in Japan about claims a Japanese whaling vessel entered New Zealand’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

On Friday anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd issued a statement claiming that the Japanese vessel the Shonan Maru No. 2, entered the 200 nautical mile limit of New Zealand’s EEZ as it tailed the Sea Shepherd ship, The Steve Irwin, which was en route to refuelling in Dunedin.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully has called on Japan to end whaling, and today Prime Minister John Key confirmed that the matter had been raised through official channels.

‘‘We’ve raised the matter with the Japanese. I’m not sure we can physically stop them,’’ Key said yesterday.

‘‘Our main issue always with these things is we just ask people  to be sensible and to be calm, and there’s a place for protest but obviously we want to make sure we don’t get danger at the high seas.’’

The Green Party called on the Government to protest the move.

"It is offensive that Japanese whalers are in New Zealand waters. The Government should lodge a formal diplomatic protest through the New Zealand Embassy in Tokyo," said Green Party oceans spokesman Gareth Hughes said.

"Murray McCully needs to do more than just express disappointment; he needs to send a strong diplomatic message to Japan that their whaling vessels are not welcome in New Zealand's waters

Fairfax Media