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Defrauding the Tsunami Victims

SNA (Tokyo) — Two Director-Generals of the Fisheries Agency from 2011 and 2012, Masanori Sato and Kazuyoshi Honkawa, have been accused of taking funds from the victims of the 2011 tsunami and distributing them to the whaling industry. This is the contention of Ren Yabuki, the Director of the NGO Life Investigation Agency, and he has now launched a lawsuit against these officials.

After the earthquake and the tsunami in March 2011, a budget was provided to the Fisheries Agency to be used to support victims of the disaster. Yabuki has uncovered documentary evidence, however, that part of this relief budget, about 1.8 billion yen (US$16.2 million), was instead diverted to the Institute of Cetacean Research, which promotes and partakes in whaling activities.

At a Tokyo press conference held on August 27, Yabuki claimed that local people were furious when they discovered that the money that was supposed to help rebuild their own fisheries industry was instead going towards unrelated projects, including such controversial items as whaling.

Yabuki now hopes that his lawsuit against the Fisheries Agency will create some accountability for the bureaucratic misuse of taxpayer money.

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