JAPAN CONDEMNED OVER PLANS TO EXPAND PACIFIC WHALING PROGRAM

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TOKYO, Japan (March 1, 2002 – Radio Australia)---Environmental groups have condemned Japan's plans to expand its whaling program this year by adding the endangered sei whale to what it terms its research list.

Radio Australia correspondent Mark Simkin reports from Tokyo.

"The Japanese government wants to increase the number and type of whales it catches in the North Pacific.

"For the first time, it will target sei whales as part of its research whaling program.

"Denise Boyd, from Greenpeace, says she's shocked by the news: ‘It's the actions of a incredibly irresponsible government to go and target an endangered species.’

"The International Whaling commission allows Japan to hunt for research purposes.

"Mark Simkin, Radio Australia News, Tokyo."

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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