THE Rudd Government is set to dramatically escalate Australia's efforts to stop Japanese whalers, sending a ship and an aircraft to gather evidence against them in the Southern Ocean, and organising a coalition of nations to campaign against the practice.
Risking a diplomatic row with our second biggest trading partner, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith also announced the Government would send an anti-whaling envoy to Tokyo, while Environment Minister Peter Garrett described what the Japanese were doing as cruel and barbaric.
However, Mr Smith — less than a month into his new job — has also sought to minimise any damage to relations with Japan, saying machine-guns would be removed from the decks of the customs patrol vessel, Oceanic Viking, during surveillance.
He also said Japanese whaling ships would not be boarded and that the Australian vessel — due to leave Fremantle within da
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