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Racism Guides Japanese Police Actions in Taiji

By February 1, 2012No Comments

Shingu Police Station and Detention Center where Erwin was held for nearly a month.

There is no beating around the bush here. Everyone is hesitant to say it, but the evidence is now very clear and I intend to state it plainly. The police of Wakayama Prefecture are racists.

They are not impartial. They are not objective. There is one law for the Japanese in Japan and another law for the Gaijin. A Gaijin is a foreigner. The name literally means “outsider.” It is used to define anyone who is not Japanese, but mostly applied to Westerners. In Taiji, Japan, the Cove Guardians who come from all over the world to defend the dolphins are certainly treated like outsiders.

When a Japanese dolphin handler simply made an accusation without any witnesses or documentation to back it up, the police, without hesitation, arrested Cove Guardian Erwin Vermeulen and tossed him in jail because he was accused of “pushing” a Japanese citizen.

On the word only of a single Japanese citizen with a vested interest in discrediting the dolphin defenders, a Dutch citizen has now been in jail for nearly fifty days, fed mostly white rice for nearly a month, and kept in a cold damp cell without being allowed any communication with family or friends. He is subjected to interrogation every day. He is not allowed to receive mail or allowed any reading material. All of this based merely on the accusation that he “pushed” a Japanese man.

He did not hurt the man. He did not even touch him yet he was shackled with a rope around his waist, attached to a leash, when brought into the courtroom. By treating him this way they make it appear like he has been charged with murder.

Erwin has been denied bail and has to stay an additional three weeks in his cell to await a verdict in a country that boasts of having a 99% success in prosecutions. Apparently lawyers are only there for cosmetic purposes – to provide the illusion of a fair trial.

After two years of opposition from the Cove Guardians and a few million dollars spent on patrolling, the police had nothing concrete to justify their expenses. Cove Guardians are under strict orders to not break any Japanese laws. The police needed to arrest someone for something and decided to do so in order to discredit the Cove Guardians. If the Guardians were not going to break any laws, the police would engineer a case nonetheless.

Why Erwin? Because he is Dutch and the Sea Shepherd ships fly the Dutch flag. Japan wanted to send a message to the Netherlands, stating their discontent with the Dutch government for not reprimanding Sea Shepherd for interference with their illegal whaling activities in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

So desperate for evidence were the police that they even ran a DNA test on the alleged victim’s shirt in hopes of finding traces of Erwin’s DNA-to prove contact. The tests were negative. Despite this fact, the trial went ahead and Erwin has remained incarcerated.

So what happens when a Japanese fisherman physically assaults two Gaijin women, one from South Africa and the other from Canada? To add to the incident, not only were they assaulted, but this attack was witnessed by other Cove Guardians AND the Japanese police AND the assault was documented on video and an official complaint was registered by the two women.

What happened?

Absolutely nothing!

And there is only one explanation for that.


The Wakayama Prefecture police are openly and blatantly racist.

Apparently racism is acceptable in the Japan police department, if directed at the Gaijin.

However if the Cove Guardians videotape the slaughter of dolphins, they are accused of racism. If Sea Shepherd condemns the killing of whales and dolphins, we are accused of being racist for opposing “Japanese food culture.”

The word racist is thrown about very liberally these days. The use of the word can be subjective but there is one very definite indication of racism within a society and that is when the police and the courts are complicit in racism.

When the police of a nation are blatantly racist it indicates that racism has become institutionalized within the society. Institutionalized racism was eliminated from Japanese society some 65 years ago. It now appears to be re-emerging in the form of discriminatory policing practices, which support the barbaric slaughter of defenseless dolphins.

The message the police have clearly sent is that the Cove Guardians cannot expect any fairness or objectivity from them. The police are in Taiji to defend the killing of dolphins and not to keep the peace is a fair an equable manner.

Signs posted in English-only warn people not to trespass in certain areas that Japanese people can freely enter. The police stop and question the Gaijin, but not the Japanese.

Little did the Cove Guardians realize that when they came to Taiji to defend dolphins that they would also be confronting a racist police force with an agenda of openly discriminating against non-Japanese people.

Check out the actual video evidence of the assault on two Cove Guardian women by a Japanese fisherman:

Assault by fisherman on Sea Shepherd volunteersNovember 2011 – Taiji, Japan – Sea Shepherd volunteers areassaulted by Japanese fisherman, but are blamedby the police for the assault.originally posted by Martyn Stewart on Facebook

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