A letter to Japan's prime minister, Mr Junichiro Koizumi, from Australia's PM, John Howard, saying that whales were a "great delight" for tourists and that there was no basis for killing whales as part of a scientific program, has failed to win diplomatic attention in Tokyo. Mr Koizumi's office confirmed that it had arrived but deflected further inquiries to the Dept of Foreign Affairs which, in turn, brushed it off.
Mr Howard said yesterday that pursuing a diplomatic path in trying to convince Japan to drop its controversial plans to increase its whaling program was the "sensible" thing to do because Japan was a "close friend of Australia".
Australia is opposed to whaling and is campaigning against Japan's proposal that it take more whales and add more species to its scientific quota.
There is no controversy about whaling in Japan; green groups keep a low profile.