From: Corporate Watch in Japanese <>
Date: Wed, 05 Jul 2000 13:23:25 -0700
Seq: 49


Toyama, Japan, 5 July 2000

Today, following three days of dramatic high-seas actions and
an overnight occupation of a ship laden with Russian logs, six
Greenpeace activists decided to release their chains and
return to their action ship, the Rainbow Warrior. The activists
stated that they had succeeded in pointing a spotlight on an
ignored international crisis and were now going to take their
protest to a higher level -- the Ministers and Heads of State of the
G-8 countries. 

"The point of our actions these last three days was not to get
ourselves arrested but rather to force governments to arrest the
forest criminals -- those corporations and corrupt governmental
officials that are allowing the devastation of our last remaining
ancient forests," said Michelle Sheather, Greenpeace
coordinator on board the Rainbow Warrior.

The cargo of the Russian ship 'Biysk' was 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. Greenpeace conducted an undercover investigation
and released a report(1) Friday in Russia which concluded that
approximately 20% of Russian logs are harvested illegally.

Today, while the activists were chained to the logs onboard
"Biysk", Greenpeace held several meetings with local
commercial and Japanese government officials. Greenpeace
called the lack of commitment expressed in these meetings
disappointing, and thus promise to continue their protests at the
upcoming G-8 meetings. The G-8 countries account for 55% of
world trade in forest products and have the greatest resources
to bring to bear to counter rampant environmental crime. Since
1997, the G-8 has promised(2) action to halt illegal logging but
according to Greenpeace have actually done almost nothing.
However, Japanese government officials have confirmed that
the issue will be placed again on the agenda of the Okinawa
summit later this month.

"So far the G-8 governments fiddle while our last ancient forests
are literally burned or are slashed into ecological wastelands,"
said Mikiko Fukuda, of Greenpeace Japan. "The Japanese
government, as host of the G-8 summit, must take a leadership
role in ensuring that for the first time we will see deeds from the
G-8 and not just a lot of pretty words."

This week's action in Japan to highlight the illegal Russian timber
trade is part of a global campaign Greenpeace is carrying out
to expose destruction of the last ancient forests, particularly
highlighting illegal logging as a key threat. The Greenpeace
Ship "Amazon Guardian" recently completed an illegal logging
survey in the Amazon, and Greenpeace is also currently
tracking cargos of suspected illegal operations in various
European countries.

Corporate Watch in Japanese
Transnational Resource and Action Center (TRAC)
P.O. Box 29344
San Francisco, CA 94129 USA
Tel: 1-415-561-6472
Fax: 1-415-561-6493
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