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Tue 9 Dec 2008 01:09 PM

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Greenpeace's anti-whaling protest

Greenpeace's anti-whaling protest
A beach goer looks on as Buddhist Monks bless a whale sand sculpture during a Greenpeace anti-whaling protest on Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia. The beach demonstration coincided with Greenpeace executive directors gathering outside the office of the Japanese Prime Minister in Tokyo to appeal for Japanese whaling operations to end. (Getty Images)
Greenpeace's anti-whaling protest
A Greenpeace protestor wears a face mask depicting Japanese campaigner Junichi Sato who is currently under house arrest in Japan during an anti-whaling protest on Bondi Beach.\n

Environmental group Greenpeace launched a campaign to turn Japan against whaling on Tuesday, with directors of the group from around the world delivering a letter to Prime Minister Taro Aso, urging him to halt the hunts.\n

The letter handover came weeks after Japan's whaling fleet set off for the Antarctic for an annual hunt aimed at catching about 900 whales, which Tokyo says is carried out for scientific research purposes. (Getty Images)
Greenpeace's anti-whaling protest
In a break with past practice, Greenpeace is focusing on a campaign to try to change Japanese domestic opinion this year, rather than send a ship to chase the fleet in the Southern Ocean, which caused diplomatic ruffles last year.\n

That decision has drawn criticism from hardline anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd, whose members skirmished with whaling vessels at sea last season. (Getty Images)
Greenpeace's anti-whaling protest
Steve Shallhorn of Greenpeace Australia and Greenpeace directors from the United States, Brazil, the Netherlands, Germany and other countries, were joined by Paddy Hart, an Australian former whaler, for the letter delivery in Japan. (Getty Images)
Greenpeace's anti-whaling protest
Activists were also set to protest outside Japanese embassies abroad, Greenpeace said.\n

Japan officially stopped whaling under a 1986 global moratorium, but continues to take hundreds of whales in what it calls a research programme. Much of the meat ends up on dinner tables. (Getty Images)
Greenpeace's anti-whaling protest
Though most Japanese do not eat whalemeat on a regular basis, many are indifferent to accusations that hunting the creatures is cruel, while others resent being told what they should eat.\n

But Greenpeace Japan Director Jun Hoshikawa said there were signs that interest in the issue was rising in Japan, with a handful of lawmakers calling for an investigation of the hunt. (Getty Images)

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