Joint Statement - "Please Terminate Research Whaling"

December 7, 2012
Joint Statement
Please Terminate Research Whaling

Prime Minister Kunihiko Noda
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Akira Gunji

Despite the recent criticism on the inappropriate use of the additional recovery fund from the third supplementary budget, research whaling, the operation we have long been questioning, managed to avert attention, and the whaling fleet is said to soon depart for the Antarctic Ocean for this term's quota. We request the end to research whaling and inappropriate measures being taken to impel research whaling. Below is our five demands and reasons:

1. Terminate Lethal Whale Research (Research Whaling) in the Antarctic Ocean
The Japanese Whale Research Program under Special Permit in the Antarctic (JARPA) was launched to estimate the minke population and natural mortality rate in the Antarctic to determine the feasibility of minke whale catch. The review of the research by the Scientific Committee of International Whaling Commission (IWC), however, revealed that JARPA failed to meet its objectives with their research methods. The international community has been also questioning the objectivity of their science as the research is sustained by whale meat sales. The IWC has already adopted over 40 resolutions calling on Japan's research program to be reconsidered, and Japan repeatedly ignored them. Research whaling that is carried out unilaterally in a sanctuary established in the public sea must be terminated immediately.

2. Stop Subsidizing Research Whaling through the "Profitable Fisheries" Program
It was revealed that the Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR), the operative body of research whaling, was in capital deficiency in the midst of using part of the recovery budget on research whaling and was under fire at the Diet. To address the issue, the government and the whaling circle, instead of considering a drastic review of the program, decided to provide subsidy to ICR through "Profitable Fisheries," which can support the research for three years. This fisheries grant program was originally designed to improve and streamline the business of small fisheries, but the biggest merit of it is that it covers the business's deficits for a maximum of three years. This system is a misappropriation of taxpayer's money similar to the use the recovery fund. Moreover, it invalidates the government's very stance that research whaling is "not commercial."

3. Stop Intensifying the Meat Sales Effort to Preserve Research Whaling and Especially Stop Introducing Whale Meat to School Lunches
In order to overcome the problem of stagnant sales, the Fisheries Agency decided to expand the distribution routes for research whale meat, and not only engage in direct sales but also increase the utilization of school lunches. The School Lunch Program Act enacted in 1954 aims for healthy development of minds and bodies of children, and plays an important role in nurturing children and students' correct understanding and food decision-making. Students are also stipulated to eat the provided school lunch. Forced provision of surplus whale meat to children and the attempts to increase the demand by supplying to schools is a violation of basic rights and it should be stopped immediately.

4. Disclose Detailed Information on Nisshin-maru's Repair and Safety
Upon receiving a grant from the "Profitable Fisheries," Nisshin-maru, the 25 year-old aging flagship, is now undergoing an upgrade. Kyodo Senpaku, the owner of the vessel, initially mentioned its intention of canceling this term's expedition to the Antarctic since the repair would take about half a year, but some aggressive whale-promoting Diet members pressured the company to carry out the expedition in the middle of the repair. For the departure they reasoned, they "would not bend to anti-whaling obstructions," which is different from the original objective of the research program. Fire broke out twice on Nisshin-maru in the Antarctic already – it is a concern that such haphazard repair work may not be able to ensure the safety of the vessel crew. Furthermore, there was concern of an oil spill in the second fire. People around the world are worried about the damage to now the very delicate ecosystem of the Antarctica. We have a great responsibility over the Antarctica environment; a valuable asset to all human beings.

5. Disclose Financial Information on Institute of Cetacean Research and Kyodo Senpaku
Money injected from the recovery budget and the "Profitable Fisheries" program shows that research whaling can no longer be managed as scientific research by a sole private sector, and the program has deviated from the slogan of "scientific research" preparing to resume commercial whaling, and has become a commercial enterprise supported by the government. In addition, we have learned that the research institution is in serious capital deficiency at the level where not operable if it were a regular private company. The government is responsible for making all information available to the public before investing the taxpayers' money.

For these reasons, we demand a swift disclosure of the requested information.

Iruka&Kujira(Dolphin&Whale)Action Network
Greenpeace Japan

Association for Protection of Marine Communities
Association to Save Shallow Water and Tidal Flat in Asia
Biodiversity Information Box
Consumers' Union of Japan
Choices for Tomorrow
Citizens Against Chemicals Pollution
Moon Bear Society
Living Diversity Institute
Elsa Nature Conservancy
IFAW Japan
Japan Wildlife Conservation Society
Japan Environmental Lawyers Federation, JELF
Orca Lab Support Society
Ramsar Network Japan

pdficon largeJoint Statement.pdf