8 Jan 2010

Japan hasn't complained about collision - McCully

9:58 pm on 8 January 2010

The Government says it hasn't received what's been reported as a stern complaint from Tokyo regarding the collision between a Japanese whaling vessel and a New Zealand trimaran in the Southern Ocean.

Some overseas news agencies have quoted Japan's chief cabinet secretary, Hirofumi Hirano, as saying that Japan had lodged a complaint with the New Zealand Government in a stern manner, because the trimaran, the Ady Gil, is registered here.

The reports say he strongly asked the New Zealand Government not to repeat such an incident in the future.

But a spokesperson for the Foreign Affairs Minister, Murray McCully, says it appears Mr Hirano was either misquoted or the translation was wrong.

Ambassador has promised 'full co-operation'

Mr McCully says Japan's ambassador has promised that his country will fully co-operate with New Zealand's investigation into the collision.

The Ady Gil, which was being used by the anti-whaling group the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, collided with a ship working with Japan's whaling fleet and later sank. Both sides blame the other for the incident.

Mr McCully told Summer Report that New Zealand and Japan both agree their citizens need to have better regard for safety on the high seas.

However, he said that if people are determined to kill others on the high seas, it's not the place of the Government to defend them.

Mr McCully also said a New Zealand vessel has been sent to undertake what he called genuine scientific research into the welfare of whales.