Paper: Japan Offered Bribes, Hookers to Protect Whaling

Japan attempted to buy off representatives of six small nations with cash and prostitutes to win their backing for the mass slaughter of whales, according to a report in London's Sunday Times .

The International Whaling Commission is scheduled to meet this month in Morocco to determine the fate of a 24-year moratorium on commercial whaling.

The Times, which states Japan has denied the allegations, says it has filmed evidence of officials to back up the charges in its article. The newspaper said that its reporters posed as representatives of "a billionaire conservationist," who contacted officials from pro-whaling countries offering aid packages in return for their votes.

The article says that officials from the governments of St Kitts and Nevis, the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Grenada, Republic of Guinea and Ivory Coast all participated in negotiations to sell their votes in return from Japanese aid.

Among the allegations:
  • Guinea's top fisheries official said Japan "usually gave his minister a "minimum" of $1,000 a day spending money in cash during the conference and other fisheries meetings.He said three Japanese organizations were used to channel the payments to "the fisheries agency, the aid agency and the Overseas Fisheries Co-operation Foundation."
  • Japan recruited small nations onto the IWC to increase support. " A senior fisheries official for the Marshall Islands said: "We support Japan because of what they give us."
  • A Kiribati fisheries official said Japan gave delegates expenses and spending money; he said his country's vote was determined by the "benefit" it received in aid.
  • Tanzania's IWC commissioner said that during all-expenses paid trips to Japan, "good girls" were made available at the hotels for ministers and senior fisheries civil servants.
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    Charles Cooper is an executive editor at CNET News. He has covered technology and business for more than 25 years, working at CBSNews.com, the Associated Press, Computer & Software News, Computer Shopper, PC Week, and ZDNet. E-mail Charlie.