Tuvalu denies being bought by Japan in whaling controversy
20/07/2004 04:39:42 | ABC Radio Australia News
A row over Tuvalu's membership of the International Whaling Commission is set to cause further disruption at the group's annual meeting.
The Tuvalu government denies it's been offered money by Japan in order for it to tip the balance in Tokyo's favour, and allow commercial whaling to restart.
The Tuvalu government representative to the IWC says the Pacific island nation was not encouraged by Japan to join the commission, and still has not decided how to vote. Tuvalu’s Nelesone Panapasi told Radio New Zealand, "Well we’ll listen to the scientific evidence that people have during the meeting, because we are yet to really know what information they have."
But Panapasi said Tuvalu believes in the sustainable use of marine resources and that the Japanese have made their case for whaling to the government of Tuvalu.
Meanwhile Japan has narrowly failed to ensure that voting at the IWC is carried out in secret.
Japan says secret balloting would allow small nations to vote without fear of economic or political pressure from foreign governments or anti-whaling organisations.