Australia hits back over pro-Japan whaling video

A popular internet video accusing Australians of opposing Japanese whaling because of racism while brutally killing animals such as kangaroos and dingoes drew sharp government criticism on Monday.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith condemned the video as he announced that Australia would this week deploy a ship to the Southern Ocean to gather evidence for possible legal action against Japan over its whaling programme.

The 10-minute video, which has recorded more than 100 000 hits since being posted anonymously on YouTube, shows graphic images of Australians killing animals and of infamous racial riots at Cronulla beach in 2005.

It says Australians are opposed to Japanese whaling because of a racist ideology, and claims in English, with Japanese subtitles, that Australia holds the world record for mammal extinction.

“It is un-tasteworthy in the extreme, that’s the kindest thing I can think to say about it,” Smith told reporters. “Its general overtone, its general content, I absolutely condemn.

“It’s anonymous, so that tells you something before we even start.”

The video would not change Australia’s opposition to Japanese whaling, but neither would it “in any way disturb or affect the very good relationship with Japan”, he said.

Smith announced that the Oceanic Viking customs ship would leave Australia this week on a 20-day mission to monitor the Japanese whaling fleet in the icy waters of the Antarctic.

The ship’s mission would be coordinated with aerial surveillance and aimed to gather video and photographic evidence for a potential international court case against Japan, he said.

Japan exploits a loophole in a 1986 international moratorium on commercial whaling to kill whales for what it calls scientific research, while admitting that the meat from the hunt ends up on dinner plates. - AFP

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