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Friday, 28th May 2010
In Events In Japan,

Whaling protest trial starts in Japan

The trial of an anti-whaling protestor accused of boarding a Japanese whaling vessel and throwing rancid butter at its crew has begun in Japan.

Peter Bethune, 45, is from New Zealand and is an active member of anti-whaling group the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. He is currently facing five different charges at the Tokyo District Court and if convicted, could spend up to 15 years behind bars.

Whale ship crew member Takashi Kominami, 24, told the court that after being hit by a butter stink bomb thrown by Bethune, he suffered chemical burns.

He told the court he felt angry and accused Bethune of showing no remorse.

Bethune got aboard the Japanese whaling ship the Shonan Maru II, which acts as a security vessel for the fleet, hoping make a citizen's arrest on the captain. He was then detained by the crew and was arrested on return to shore.

Japan maintains that its whaling operations are to do with scientific research.

Written by Kimberley Homer.

Related news stories:
Japanese whaling ships back in port (12th April 2010)
Japan accused of whaling bribery (14th June 2010)
Anti-whaling protestor boards Japanese ship (15th February 2010)
Japan blasts anti-whaling protestors (12th February 2010)