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Canada Activists Target Japan Firm

April 24, 1998

TORONTO (AP) _ Back in action after a two-year court battle, activists Friday resumed a boycott against a Japanese paper company engaged in a logging-rights dispute with an Indian tribe in Canada.

The company, Daishowa Inc., won a temporary injunction against the boycott in 1996. An Ontario judge quashed the injunction April 14 and said the boycott was a legitimate form of political expression.

Friends of the Lubicon, the Toronto-based group that initiated the boycott in 1991, had given Daishowa 10 days to pledge it would not log on land claimed by the Lubicon Indians until their land-claims dispute with the government was settled.

The activists said Friday that Daishowa had asked for more time to consider the matter, but they decided to go ahead with a resumption and expansion of the boycott.

``Daishowa doesn’t need more time,″ said Friends of the Lubicon spokesman Kevin Thomas. ``They need more integrity, they need more compassion.″

Daishowa, which contends the boycott has cost it $10 million, says it will appeal the Ontario court ruling to the Supreme Court.

The case dates to 1988, when Daishowa reached an agreement with federal and provincial officials to log about 4,000 square miles of land in northern Alberta province _ land claimed by the Lubicons.

The isolated Indian community _ consisting of about 300 people, 85 percent of them on welfare _ contended that no logging rights should be awarded until its land claims were settled.

A small group of Toronto-based activists formed Friends of the Lubicon and launched a boycott aimed at dissuading stores in Canada from buying Daishowa’s paper bags.

More than 40 companies changed their bag suppliers, including two that did so only after being picketed.

While the Japanese company never actually began logging on the disputed land, it antagonized the Indians and activists by refusing to pledge that it would never log there until the land-claims struggle was resolved.

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