Dalai Lama Urges Peaceful Protests Against Japan's Whaling

Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, has urged wildlife activists to carry out peaceful protests against Japan's whaling.

The Dalai Lama told reporters in Tokyo Saturday that he had written to the U.S.-based Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to stop what he called its violent harassment of Japan's whaling fleet. He said in the letter he recognized the need to protect the giant sea mammals, but that any protest should be non-violent.

Environmentalist groups say Japan kills more than 800 whales a year in the name of scientific research -- despite a 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling. Conservation groups have accused Japan of using whale meat for food. Some organizations, including the Sea Shepherd, have sent ships with activists who tried to prevent Japanese fishermen from killing whales.

The Dalai Lama arrived in Japan Friday for a week-long lecture tour. He is not scheduled to meet with the country's political leaders.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and DalaiLama.com.