Please stop "research" whaling in North Pacific Ocean!

To: Mr. Yoshiro Mori, Prime Minister of Japan

We are a group of citizens based in Japan committed to the conservation of dolphins and whales. We oppose Japan's whaling activities and, in particular, the recent extension of "scientific whaling" upon which the Fisheries Agency and the fishing industry have insisted. Commercial exploitation of wild species like dolphins and whales may cause serious damage not only to their own populations but also to marine ecosystems.

We submitted a statement opposing Japan's commercial whaling, to the 52nd IWC Meeting held in Adelaide in July, 2000. This statement, supported by 65 Japanese organisations , is attached below.

We feel strong resentment against the embarkation to the North Pacific at the end of July of Japanese whaling vessels to kill sperm, Bryde's and minke whales for "research". The research may benefit part of Japan's fishing industry, but it will not benefit the Japanese people, who wish to protect the natural environment for future generations.

We understand that the Government of the United States has reacted to this hunt by threatening to impose economic sanctions against Japan. Japan should have the courage to stop such an unacceptable activity without having to be forced to do so by other countries.

Contamination of whale meat intended for human consumption is a big problem in Japan and whales from the North Pacific Ocean are remarkably contaminated. We are concerned that the Institute conducting the "research" whaling will sell potentially dangerously contaminated whale meat for human consumption. Who will take the responsibility for endangering people's health?

The Japanese Government justifies its whaling with the claim that whales eat more fish than human beings. This is not accurate. Dwindling fish stocks are due to indiscriminate fishing by humans and the destruction of the environment. Killing whales is not a solution.

Some people in Japan insist upon preserving our own culture against western culture. But it is not Japanese culture to over-exploit the world's natural resources; rather that was a symptom of past western/colonial practices. However, Japan is increasingly notorious worldwide for its consumption of endangered wildlife such as elephants, hawksbill turtles and tigers, as well as whales. The Japanese Government should amend such a policy immediately and take into consideration the needs of future generations.

For these reasons, on behalf of 64 Japanese organizations, we strongly entreat the Japanese Government to stop its "research whaling" in the North-western Pacific Ocean immediately.