Japan’s ambassador has been called into New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to be given a dressing down after a whaling ship entered the country’s exclusive economic zone.
“On my instructions, the Japanese ambassador this afternoon met with a senior MFAT official who conveyed New Zealand’s deep disappointment at the vessel’s entry into our EEZ,” Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Murray McCully said in a statement on Monday.
Mr McCully said the New Zealand Embassy in Tokyo last week made it very clear New Zealand did not want members of the Japanese whaling fleet entering the EEZ.
“When those wishes were ignored on Friday, I instructed the ministry to call in the most senior representative present at the Japanese Embassy in Wellington – the deputy head of mission,” he said.
“Today’s meeting with the ambassador served to further reiterate how deeply disrespectful the vessel’s entry into our EEZ was.
“New Zealand’s strong opposition to Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean is well known and further action may be taken.”
The strong statement came after the Shonan Maru 2 followed the Steve Irwin, a vessel of the anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd, into the EEZ on Friday.
The ship travelled in the EEZ for some distance but did not enter New Zealand’s territorial waters, he said.
Sea Shepherd said the Japanese ship was “harassing” the Steve Irwin after the protesters tried to disrupt the Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean.