An anti-whaling activist who boarded a Japanese vessel to try to stop an annual hunt has been given a two year suspended jail term.
Pete Bethune said he was trying to make a citizen’s arrest of the captain in February. But he was held by the whalers and arrested himself when the ship
returned to Japan.
Pro-whaling groups denounced him outside the court in Tokyo where the New Zealander was convicted of assault and other charges.
Prosecutors say a whaler suffered burns when Bethune threw a stink bomb made of rancid butter. He insists his intention was not to hurt the crew.
The Sea Shepherd anti-whaling organisation has now expelled Bethune from its ranks.
Japan says it hunts whales for scientific research. That view is contested by conservationists who say much of the meat ends up on dinner plates.