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Greenpeace Presses Japanese Embassy For Release Of 'Tokyo Two' Whaling Activists; 'We Won't Back Down'

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OTTAWA, Canada -- Greenpeace today will ask the Japanese Ambassador to Canada to intercede with his government to secure the immediate release of two Greenpeace activists, dubbed the Tokyo Two.

"We will deliver a request from Greenpeace Canada's Executive Director and a petition signed by thousands of Canadians to Ambassador Nishida and ask him to let his government know that Canadians join in the world-wide demand for the release of the Greenpeace activists," said Beth Hunter Greenpeace Oceans Coordinator. "Detaining our activists is blatant intimidation, but we won't back down until they are released and justice is served for Greenpeace and the whales."

Japanese police conducted an unprecedented raid on Greenpeace's Japanese headquarters in Tokyo and the homes of activists earlier this month. They arrested activists Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki for exposing an embezzlement ring at the heart of the Japanese government's so-called scientific whaling program. The police raids came on the eve of the meeting of the International Whaling Commission in Chile at which Japan threatened to call for resumption of commercial whaling.

The case of the Tokyo Two has gained global attention. Since their detention, more than 170,000 people around the world have sent protest letters to Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, and Foreign Minister, Masahiko Koumura calling for their release.

Today, Greenpeace will protest against the detention of the activists at the Japanese Embassy in Ottawa. Greenpeace will continue to ask its members and others to support the call for the release of the activists by writing to Japanese officials.

Before the police raid, Sato and Suzuki had cooperated with Japanese police, offered them information and provided a box of whale meat as evidence to officials that there is an ongoing operation to illegally sell whale meat

After a four-month investigation, Greenpeace asked the Japanese government for a full investigation. The Tokyo public prosecutor initially said there was sufficient evidence for an investigation but ruled out an inquiry after the police raids. Greenpeace provided Ambassador Nishida with a dossier on the investigation by Sato and Suzuki.

"Sato and Suzuki are innocent of any crime," said Hunter. "These courageous individuals who exposed fraud involving whale meat must be released immediately."

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