Related to this other thread about the anti-whaling ship Ady Gil losing its bow to a Japanese whaling vessel.
TOKYO – The Japanese Coast Guard has obtained an arrest warrant for the leader of the Sea Shepherd environmental group for its disruption of Japan's annual whale hunts, local media reported Friday.
The move would be the latest in an increasingly aggressive campaign against the radical conservationists by Tokyo, which accuses them of endangering lives during the Antarctic hunt. U.S.-based Sea Shepherd has long insisted the Japanese fleet is conducting banned commercial whaling under the guise of scientific research.
The warrant is for Paul Watson, the Canadian founder and president of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, on suspicion of assault and obstruction of business, Kyodo News agency reported, citing investigative sources. It did not say which court issued the warrant.
The Japanese Coast Guard wants Watson placed on the wanted list of Interpol, the international police agency, national broadcaster NHK reported.
Watson captains one of the Sea Shepherd ships that each year seeks to disrupt Japan's whaling activities in the Antarctic seas by trying to disable or cut off the Japanese ships.
A Coast Guard spokesman said the organization does not comment on arrest warrants it has obtained.
Japan has recently struck back at activists that try to disrupt its whaling activities. Last month a protester that had climbed aboard a whaling vessel in this year's hunt was formally arrested, and Tokyo issued a request to Australian authorities that led to a police search of Sea Shepherd anti-whaling boats.