Update: Tokyo Two given one year suspended sentence

Tokyo_twoTokyo, 6 September 2010 – Japan’s Aomori Court has found the Tokyo Two guilty of theft and trespass and has sentenced them to one year in prision, suspended for three years. Greenpeace has announced that it will appeal the judgement.

Japan: Environmentalists denied information should be acquitted

Madrid, 3 September 2010 – Access Info Europe today criticised the Japanese government for using censorship in response to access to information requests, and called for the acquittal of two environmental activists who exposed government corruption linked to the black market in whale meat.

Greenpeace anti-whaling activists Toru Suzuki and Junichi Sato, known as the Tokyo Two, are on trial for trespass and theft linked to their work to expose how whale meat from the government-funded research programme ends up in Tokyo’s top restaurants and is given to senior public officials and parliamentarians. The verdict will be announced on Monday 6 September 2010.

In conducting their defence the Tokyo Two requested documents under Japan’s access to information law which would prove embezzlement and kickbacks. The accounting and sales data necessary to prove that they acted in the public interested was denied to the activists (see photo).

The Japanese government refused to release the data arguing that information on who buys whale meat was a commercial secret necessary to protect market prices. They also argued that civil society organisations would misuse the information on who buys whale meat.

“The Japanese government is using spurious arguments to hide information which would embarrass them. By denying this information, which is essential for public debate about Japan’s illegal whaling industry, the government is violating the rights of access to information and freedom of expression,” commented Helen Darbishire, Director of Access Info Europe. “The Japanese government is also undermining the defence of two innocent environmental activists who risk ending up in jail.”

For more Information, please contact:

Helen Darbishire, Executive Director, Access Info Europe

+ 34 667 685 319