The New Zealand Government has not received a reported "stern" complaint from Tokyo over the collision between the New Zealand trimaran Ady Gil and a Japanese whaling ship in the Southern Ocean, a spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said today.
Japan's chief cabinet secretary Hirofumi Hirano was quoted by the Kyodo news agency yesterday saying a complaint had been lodged with the New Zealand government "in a stern manner" because the Ady Gil was registered in New Zealand, and Japan had urged the New Zealand "not to repeat such an incident in the future".
Mr McCully's spokesman told NZPA today that there was a "low-key" meeting yesterday in Wellington between the Japanese ambassador and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) officials.
"According to information our embassy has got from the Japanese foreign ministry, he (Mr Hirano) didn't say there had been a protest made -- there hasn't been one," the spokesman said.
"The low-key discussion was perfectly amicable between the two countries."
The Japanese ambassador was briefed on Maritime New Zealand's planned investigation into the collision because the Ady Gil was registered in New Zealand and MFAT discussed the need for a Japanese inquiry because of the Japanese ship's involvement.
"And we reiterated our very strong desire that both protagonists desist from further activity that results in a life-threatening situation."
Despite Mr McCully's call yesterday for the anti-whaling protesters from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Japanese whalers to show restraint before someone was killed, the five New Zealanders and the Dutchman rescued from the Ady Gil vowed to continue their fight.
The boat, formerly known as Earthrace, had its bow sheared off in the collision with the Shonan Maru No 2 near Commonwealth Bay on Wednesday.
Mr McCully said that MNZ would oversee an investigation of the collision, which was in the Australian search and rescue area, while Australia's acting Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) would conduct its own investigation.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society claimed the whaling ship deliberately rammed the New Zealand boat, but a group representing the Japanese fleet, the Institute of Cetacean Research, claimed footage of the crash showed the ship was trying to avoid colliding with the Ady Gil.
The institute claimed Ady Gil skipper Pete Bethune deliberately put the boat across the bows of the Japanese ship, but miscalculated.
In a video taken from the Shonan Maru No 2 the Ady Gil appeared stationary but crew members were seen running for the cockpit as the Japanese ship approached, and it began to move as the vessels came closer together and the crash tore nearly 3m off its bow.