The trial of an anti-whaling activist from New Zealand has begun in Tokyo.
Protesters gathered outside the court demanding a strict sentence for Peter Bethune after he boarded a Japanese whaling ship in February.
The 44 year-old reportedly pleaded guilty to four out of five charges, including trespassing and obstruction of commercial activities. However, he denied assaulting one of the vessel’s crew with an acid stink bomb.
It is the first time an anti-whaling protester has been tried in Japan.
Bethune, who faces a possible 15 years in jail, boarded the ship in the Antarctic following clashes between the hunters and environmentalists from the conservation society Sea Shepherd.
The group’s attempts to block whale fleets have angered many in Japan, where the government says whaling is a cultural tradition.