Whalers deny using weapons vs. protesters

Feb. 2, 2009 at 9:21 AM
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TOKYO, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- Japanese officials say accusations by environmentalists that whaling ships have been using military-grade weapons against protesters are untrue.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which sends vessels to Antarctic waters to monitor the whale "research" carried out by Japanese ships, claims whalers have used "military-grade" concussion grenades, acoustic weapons and solid brass and lead balls against them, The Daily Telegraph reported Monday.

But Japanese whaling authorities deny the accusations. Toshinori Uoya, a spokesman for the Far Seas Fisheries Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in Tokyo, told the newspaper: "Our research whaling fleet only used water cannons and did not use any other weapons. The fleet did use water canons, but only to prevent them from approaching their own vessels in inflatable craft."

The Japanese agency also told the Telegraph the whaling fleet is not equipped with long-range acoustic equipment enabling it to emit high-frequency sound waves that cause disorientation and nausea.

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