IKAN Welcomes the Early End of Research Whaling

Iruka & Kujira (Dolphin&Whale) Action Network welcomes the early end of the Second Phase of the Japanese Whale Research Program under Special Permit in the Antarctic (JARPAII). We hope this will become the opportunity for unemotional and constructive discussions to take place based on more extensive sharing of information within Japan, to ultimately forever cease from any research whaling activities in the Antarctic.

There has been substantial criticism towards Japanese whaling activities in the Antarctic, from both sides of the whaling issue, especially on the following points: 1) whaling within the sanctuary; 2) nature of the research and its scientific neutralism where the research is funded by the sales of whale meat; 3) carrying out lethal research when similar data can be obtained from non-lethal methods; 4) the use of tax-payers' money on the industry; as well as 5) whether it could be called a "Japanese tradition" to travel to the opposite side of the planet to hunt whales.

It is regretful that the end to this term's whaling was not brought on by a series of discussions within Japan, but rather was a result of the pressure from an anti-whaling campaign by a group from outside Japan. However, we must now take this opportunity to take a serious look at the nature of research whaling itself and start sincere discussions, to decide on a new future for the program.

For the future direction of Japanese research whaling, we propose the following:

  1. Suspend research whaling activities, that have been taking place in the Antarctic and the Northwestern Pacific, to evaluate the validity of the research, based on not only the voices of the industry representatives but also various opinions including those from experts, scientists, and NGOs, from both abroad and home.
  2. Do not inject further public funds into promoting whaling without proper discussions on their use.
  3. End all the campaigns promoting the consumption of whale meat, and determine the domestic minimum demand for whale meat, to use as a reference for planning future measures.
  4. Include the numbers of fixed net by-catch whales in the evaluation of the resumption of coastal whaling.
  5. Do not secure votes using methods such as ODA to protect the whaling industry, as seen in the past, at the negotiation table that is for international discussions and to resolve issues in the best interest of all parties.
  6. Do not be fixed on the idea that whales are mere marine resources but treat them as wild animals with limited use based on the conservation of biological diversity, when discussing whaling issues.