The Japanese Coast Guard is armed with an international arrest warrant for Sea Shepherd's Captain, Paul Watson. Watson led Sea Shepherd in interfering with Japan's whaling expedition this past winter.
The warrant cites Paul Watson for "... suspicion of assault and obstruction of business," and the Japanese Coast Guard is trying to get Interpol to have Watson placed on the "wanted" list. The winter's opposition against Japan's whaling activities mounted by Sea Shepherd was called "Operation No Compromise: Defending the Integrity of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary." That campaign saved 528 whales, according to Sea Shepherd. "... Sea Shepherd successfully saved 528 whales- our biggest impact on the whale quota to date.
It was worth the months of effort. It was worth the cost. It was worth the loss of the Ady Gil. It was worth the arrest of Captain Pete Bethune." Japan has agreed with Sea Shepherd on this point, likely the only thing the two opponents will ever agree upon completely.
The Canadian-born Watson has faced down arrest warrants before for his efforts to conserve ocean species.
Attempts to interfere with Japan's whaling activities in February 2010 resulted in the sinking of the boat, the Ady Gil. Japan also arrested Peter Bethune in March 2010. Bethune was the Captain of the Ady Gil. He boarded one Japanese ship with the intention of placing the Captain under citizen's arrest, and was instead held and taken to Japan.
The fight between Sea Shepherd and Japan epitomizes, albeit very graphically, the split that exists in the world. There are those nations which continue to run whaling operations, and there are those which prefer to conserve whales. The issue is coming to a head, with the International Whaling Commission proposing to allow the hunting of whales without lifting the whaling ban.