From: Corporate Watch in Japanese <>
Date: Wed, 05 Jul 2000 13:23:09 -0700
Seq: 48


ACTION UPDATE, Japan, 18.00 local time.

Toyama Shinko Port (Japan), 4 July 2000=20

- Tonight at 18.00 local time, culminating a day of dramatic actions on
the Sea of Japan, seven Greenpeace activists climbed on board the
Russian timber vessel "Biysk and chained themselves to logs in protest of
the international trade in illegal timber. The activists - members of the
crew of the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior - included citizens of
the USA, Russia, Israel, United Kingdom and Japan. They are prepared to
stay on board the vessel overnight. Meanwhile, 20 coast guard (MSA)
vessels have surrounded the two vessels and officers have boarded the
"Rainbow Warrior". Greenpeace is demanding that the Japanese
government refuse to allow the logs to be unloaded unless they obtain
proof that they were harvested legally and are not in fact contraband in
a growing international illegal timber trade.

Tonight's activities followed a long day of attempts by Greenpeace to
board the "Biysk while the crew used violent tactics, including the use of
anchors, grappling hooks and fire hoses to push the Greenpeace
activists into the sea. The environmental activists were thrown into the sea
eight times by the "Biysk crew while the Japanese coast guard observed
the events but did not intervene.=20


4 July 2000 SEA OF JAPAN,38degrees 19N, 127degrees 24E Outside
Japanese territorial waters. 08.00 local time.

Today at 08:00 Greenpeace for the second consecutive day boarded
the timber cargo vessel the 'Byisk'. Five Greenpeace activists, citizens
from Russia, Japan, UK, Israel and Australia, are occupying the vessels
cargo as it continues on its course into Japanese territory. They are
prepared to stay aboard the 'Byisk' for some time.=20

The cargo of the 'Byisk' is spruce from the Primorsky region in Russia's Far
East. Greenpeace has traced illegal logs to the port of Plastun where this
ship loaded its cargo on July 2. On July 3 Greenpeace activists boarded
the 'Byisk' in international waters between Russia and Japan. Five
activists displayed banners and occupied the logs stacked high on deck
until the 'Byisk' altered its course and announced it would return to Russia
with its cargo. Later, the vessel altered course again to continue to the
port of Toyama Shinko in NW Japan. The Rainbow Warrior has been
pursuing the vessel since yesterday.

"Greenpeace urges the Japanese government to confirm that the timber
on board this shipment is not illegal," said Ayako Sekine, Greenpeace
Japan spokesperson from the deck of the timber vessel. "The plight of the
world's ancient forests is in the hands of governments who choose to
allow the import of products from this criminal activity."=20

Illegal and destructive logging is threatening the future of the world's=
remaining ancient forests. Yet while the G8 group of leading nations have
made public commitments (1) to promote sustainable forest
management, the problems of illegal production and trade of wood and
wood products continue to grow.

Estimates for the amount of logs produced or traded illegally world-wide
range from 20 to 80 percent. A report released on Friday in Russia (2)
highlights the findings of Greenpeace investigative teams that illegal
logging is rampant in the Primorsky region forests. In Brazil, illegal
logging has become the norm rather than the exception. Despite their
public commitments to address the problem of illegal logging,G-8
countries such as Japan, UK and Germany, are major importers of timber
products from regions where illegal production and trade of forest
products is still commonplace.

In the-run up to its 2000 Summit in Okinawa on July 21-22, Greenpeace is
demanding that G8 governments:
=B7 DO NOT buy illegal timber products
=B7 DO NOT fund forest destruction through aid for unsustainable forestry
=B7 DO NOT let G8 countries be markets for illegal timber
=B7 DO buy wood products from sustainable certified forests=20
=B7 DO provide urgent assistance to forest countries to tackle illegal=
=B7 DO increase the capacity for monitoring and transparency throughout
the production and transport of wood and wood products globally.=20

According to Michelle Sheather, Greenpeace International
spokesperson on the Rainbow Warrior, Greenpeace will continue to
highlight the irregular practises for the import of timber and timber
products by G8 countries, until positive action is made on the promises
from G8 leaders.=20

(1) G8 commitment from Denver, 20-22 June, 1997: "Forests continue to
be destroyed and degraded at alarming rates in many parts of the
world. To reverse this trend, we call upon all countries to make a long
term political commitment to achieve sustainable forests
management practices world-wide and to join us in the immediate
implementation of proposals put forward by the Inter-governmental
Panel on Forests. We have discussed in Denver and have agreed to
support a practical Action Program that includes eliminating illegal

(2) Click here for an Executive summary of the report 'Forest felling
activities in Russia'.

Corporate Watch in Japanese
Transnational Resource and Action Center (TRAC)
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