20 July 2005

Solomon Islands' denies Japan bought whaling vote

The Solomon Islands Government has denied allegations that Japan poured money into the country for support on whaling and cheap access to tuna.

The Government says money from other countries - not just Japan - has disappeared into the pockets of its fishing officials.

The Solomon Islands' permanent secretary for fisheries, Tione Bugotu, was interviewed by ABC TV's Four Corners program.

He told of how money paid into the Fisheries Department in licence fees had been diverted by some officials into their own pockets.

However, in a statement released by the Government in Honiara, Mr Bugotu says the money that disappeared came from all the foreign countries fishing for tuna in Solomon Islands waters.

He describes as absolutely false the claim that Japan paid for cheap access to tuna.

He says the question was: "For supporting Japan on whaling how much more did Japan get in terms of access to tuna?"

He says the answer is: "No more access than Taiwan."

Source: www.abc.net.au


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