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Japanese PM defends whaling
By Wendy Heller, January 24, 2008 @ 02:00 AM (EST)
Source: Iol.co.za

Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda has called for a calming of emotions over whaling, defending his country's controversial Antarctic hunt as scientific research.

Japan's annual expedition is opposed by most Western countries. Militant environmentalists last week hurled bottles at a Japanese whaler and two activists hopped aboard the vessel, setting off a two-day standoff.

"I don't think it is right for the discussions to turn emotional, especially with the recent violent act against the Japanese research vessel," Fukuda told the BBC in an interview Wednesday. "Should that lead to more emotionally charged debate, then I feel that would be very unfortunate."

"So we should try to continue with our efforts to try to explain that we are engaged in this research whaling activity from a scientific viewpoint," he was quoted as saying.

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