Tuesday, February 11, 2014

NZ 'disappointed' by Japan research whaler

New Zealand has expressed disappointment that one of Japan's research whaling vessels had entered its exclusive economic zone.

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully released a statement calling the action disrespectful. Officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said they summoned Japanese Ambassador Yasuaki Nogawa on Monday and informed him of McCully's "deep disappointment."

The officials also revealed that the Japanese side last Thursday informed New Zealand of the possibility that one of its ships may enter its exclusive economic zone. The official said the New Zealand Embassy in Tokyo last week made it very clear that the government did not want the Japanese whaling fleet to enter the zone.
Prime Minister John Key, when asked by reporters what New Zealand might do next, said there are always options open to his country. But he also said he does not want to rush into those options.

In Tokyo, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters that a surveillance ship of the Japanese Fisheries Agency entered New Zealand's exclusive economic zone. He said this was part of necessary measures to ensure the safety of the whaling ships. He said free passage through an exclusive economic zone is recognized by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, so he sees no problem as far as international law is concerned.