An activist from New Zealand was arrested Friday by the Japanese coast guard after he boarded a Japanese whaling ship last month.
Peter Bethune, member of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, boarded the whaling ship without permission intending to make a citizen arrest of the Japanese crew.
As reported by The New York Times and BBC news, a crew of Japanese photographers and reporters waited at the dock in Toyko for Bethune's arrival.
BBC news reported that after the Shonan Maru 2 docked, Japanese coastguard officials went on board and arrested him.
Hirotaka Akamatsu, the Japanese fisheries minister, told New York Times reporters that Mr. Bethune's actions were "outrageously illegal behavior."
"We want to deal with it strictly," he said.
Mr. Bethune's arrest was top news in Japan, where Sea Shepherd's efforts to obstruct whaling ships receive wide publicity, none of it positive. While few Japanese eat whale, public opinion is generally sympathetic to the government's claims that whaling is part of Japanese culture.
ABC News reported that Paul Watson, captain of the Steve Irwin vessel, says the group has had no contact with Mr Bethune but they expect his arrest will lend greater support to their cause.
"I think that this whole thing is going to make Peter Bethune an international hero, certainly a national hero in New Zealand," he said.
"And I think with Peter Bethune they've got themselves a hot potato that they're probably going to want to let go of pretty soon."