18 Apr 2006

Anti-whaling lobby in stand-off with Japan over Pacific support

1:39 pm on 18 April 2006

The environmental organisation Greenpeace says efforts to dissuade Pacific countries from supporting Japan's pro-whaling stance don't always succeed.

Japan has been close to gaining majority control at past meetings of the International Whaling Commission and is reported to have secured more than half of the votes ahead of next month's annual meeting.

This coincides with Japan's increasing diplomatic sway over Pacific countries, which has seen recent co-operation agreements signed with Tuvalu, Nauru and Kiribati.

While Greenpeace is urging more nations to get involved in the Commission to shore up the anti-whaling lobby, its Campaign Manager Cindy Baxter says a lot more work is needed to counter Japan's influence.

".We're working, we're talking to those people in the Pacific. I know that the New Zealand government is. It's an interesting diplomatic game in the Pacific: I know that Australia, for example, last year went to Kiribati and said Please, can you not support Japan on whaling? and Kiribati said Can you sign the Kyoto Protocol please?"

Greenpeace Campaign Manager Cindy Baxter.