Japanese Poacher Killed in Russian Waters

The Japanese vessel The 31st Kiishin-Maru has been captured by a Russian Federation National Security patrol on the Sakhalin coast. One Japanese crewmember was shot and killed.

The Russians have agreed to hand over the corpse to Japan  by  August 18th. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs charges that all responsibility is with the Japanese vessel and Japan which the Russians charge consented tacitly to the poaching.

The Russians report that they repeatedly ordered the boat to leave Russian waters since July 20th and notified the Japanese government to call the boat out of Russian waters. The Japanese government refused to respond.

The patrol finally demanded the ship to stop in Russian, English, and Japanese, but the Japanese fishing boat refused to acknowledge the order. The Japanese fishermen began to throw crab baskets into the sea.

The Russian patrol boat fired warning shots with a Kalashnikov rifle. A stray bullet deflected from the surface of the sea struck and killed a Japanese crewmember.

This incident underscores the illegal activity that Japan is involved in throughout the world's oceans - from the recent exposure of Japanese poaching of Southern bluefin tuna in Australian waters to the blatantly illegal slaughter of endangered whales in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is opposing illegal Japanese activities. Evidence of the extent of these illegal activities is revealed every day in stories like today's shooting of a Japanese poacher by Russian patrols to their bribing of nations to join the International Whaling Commission to vote for the resumption of whaling.