Two Japanese Greenpeace activists known as the Tokyo Two say they have been vindicated in their efforts to expose corruption in the country’s whaling industry.
The powerful Japanese Fisheries Agency has admitted that some of its officials took kickbacks of whale meat.
For Toru Suzuki, this confession by the Fisheries Agency could help overturn his criminal conviction.
Together with fellow Greenpeace activist Junichi Sato, he was handed a one-year suspended sentence for stealing whale meat.
He says he was merely intercepting public property stolen by the whalers and exposing this corruption in the public interest.
“This is a big victory for us,” Mr Suzuki said.
“This is a very important step for us to tell the Japanese public about what we’ve been doing.”
Six months ago the ABC broadcast allegations by two whaling crew members that officials and crew were illegally taking thousands of dollars worth of whale cuts.
At the time the Fisheries Agency denied the allegations, but it has now reprimanded officials for taking more than $3,000 worth of whale meat.
The agency has apologised and vowed to stamp out corruption in the industry.
But the confession by the Fisheries Agency that public officials corruptly accepted whale meat has been barely reported in Japan.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard says the revelations reinforce the Federal Government’s legal action against Japan’s whaling program.