New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said that an apology from Japan “would be good” over the whaling ship intrusion into their country’s Exclusive Economic Zone the week before. Their Ministry of Foreign Affairs also called in the Japanese ambassador to New Zealand on Monday to receive an official diplomatic complaint over the incident.
While Key said he was not sure if they will be receiving an official apology from the Japanese government, given its continued defense of its whaling practices for “research” purposes, he chooses to adapt a “wait and see” attitude and says, “We’ll see what happens from here.” But New Zealand’s Labour leader David Cunliffe believes that his government’s response was too soft and that the Japanese ambassador should have been called in at a ministerial level, not just an official level, given the seriousness of the matter. “In the language of diplomacy, as you know, the level of the message is delivery. It says quite a lot about how the Government takes it,” he said.
The Shonan Maru No. 2, one of the ships of Japan’s infamous whaling fleet, had reportedly been pursuing the Steve Irwin, a vessel of Sea Shepherd, an eco-activist group that has been hindering their activities in the ocean. They were reportedly within 12 nautical miles of the coast off Dunedin on Friday, and informed the New Zealand embassy in Tokyo that they might be entering the EEZ. Foreign Minister Murray McCully said they explicitly told the embassy that they were not welcome the Japanese ship entering their area. He expressed “deep disappointment” that they disregarded this and went in anyway. “While the Japanese whalers’ decision to ignore New Zealand’s strong wishes in this respect has no legal implications, clearly it was deeply disrespectful,” he said.
[ via 3 News ]