You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
A lawyer representing New Zealander Peter Bethune thinks the anti-whaling activist could get a fair trial in Tokyo.
Bethune, a member of the militant Sea Shepherd group, went on trial yesterday facing five charges relating to anti-whaling activities in the Southern Ocean earlier this year.
Today lawyer Dan Harris said that even though he represented Bethune he was not allowed in the court yesterday.
"It was very restricted," he told Radio New Zealand.
"There were over 400 people trying to get into approximately 15 slots."
He said he knew what had happened in the court "because the hearing was pretty much all scripted, scripted in the sense that both the prosecution and the defence gave their opening statement but that opening statement was based word for word on a written statement that was provided to the judge days ago".
"Beyond that they talked about documentary evidence, so really the important thing that happened was the opening statement," Mr Harris said.
He said the court would hear testimony from a crew member on the whaling ship Shonan Maru 2 who claimed to have been injured by something thrown by Pete Bethune and also that person's doctor. On Monday Bethune is expected to testify.
Despite earlier suggestions the trial was just a show, Mr Harris said he thought Bethune could get a fair trial.
"All indications and reports are that the lead judge and other two judges are fair-minded judges," he said.
He described protests outside the court as scary.
Around 20 Japanese protesters, watched over by police, staged a noisy rally and waved signs saying "Hang terrorist Peter Bethune!" and "Destroy Caucasian discrimination against Japanese!" outside the Tokyo District Court. They included people making what Mr Harris described as "Heil Hitler" salutes.
Bethune, 45, was the captain of the futuristic powerboat the Ady Gil, which was sliced in two in a collision with the Shonan Maru 2 in the Southern Ocean in January while carrying six crew, and which sank soon after.
In February he boarded the Japanese ship from a jet ski with the intent of making a citizen's arrest of its captain for the attempted murder of the Ady Gil's crew, and to bill him for the sunken vessel.
Instead, Bethune was detained by the whalers and taken back to Japan, where he was formally arrested by the Japanese Coast Guard on March 12.
He faces a possible 15 years in jail if convicted of five charges including injuring a Japanese whaler with a rancid butter, or butyric acid, stink bomb during a clash in February.
Bethune also faces a charge of obstructing business, for the group's campaign of harassment, and charges for boarding the security ship on February 15 - trespassing, property destruction and violation of the weapons control law for carrying a knife with a longer-than-legal blade.
Yesterday he denied the assault charge.
"For the disruption of business, I admit that I fired the butyric acid but there were additional circumstances that we will discuss in court," he said.
He did not contest the three other charges, Agence France Presse reported.
"For the knife and cutting the net, I admit the fact," he said, referring to cutting a security net in order to enter the ship.
"I admit that I boarded the Shonan Maru 2. But I believe that I had good reason to do so."
Bethune's father Don, who lives in Hamilton, told NZPA he did not believe his son would be sentenced to the full 15 years, but he could cope if he had to spend time in a Japanese jail.
"He is a remarkable man."