Our Actions

Whaling, dolphin hunting, and wildlife laws all concern both dolphins, whales and humans, and these make up the three pillars of our actions:

1. The Whaling Issue

In Japan, where there is a custom of eating whale meat to a varying degree, the choice of eating or not eating whale meat is up to the individuals.

We do, however, have to be aware that Japan, a major economic country, has a powerful influence on wildlife and also on other countries, and that we have to responsible for what we consume.

Since the moratorium in 1987, Japan has been catching whales in Antarctica and the Northwest Pacific Ocean under the name of "scientific whaling." From 2002, the government has entrusted the research whaling operation to a small-type coastal whaling company, which is catching minke whales and circulating the meat on market.

Also circulating in the market is the whale meat from by-catch, which was legalized in 2001.

Furthermore, since 2006, Japan is importing fin whale meat from Iceland, which conducts commercial whaling. Sei whales are protected from international trade by CITES, but since both Japan and Iceland have reservations on the convention, they are able to trade. We should rethink whether an economically prosperous country like Japan should actively utilize wildlife in such a way.

IKAN's mission is to provide accurate and diverse information so that all of us living in Japan can make a responsible decision for the environment.

(For more detail: Research Whaling, J-stock)

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2. The Coastal Dolphin Hunt Issue

Based on a quota set by the Fisheries Agency, Japan catches close to 20,000 small-type cetaceans every year by one of the following three methods: harpoon fishing, the drive fishing, that chases groups of dolphins into a bay, and the small-type coastal whaling using whaling guns.

Small-type cetaceans, like large cetaceans, are wildlife with a low fecundity rate, and are migratory species travelling beyond national borders, but they are outside the jurisdiction of the IWC. Japanese coastal dolphins and whales have been caught continuously and they need some type of conservation.

We need to start research on our coastal whales, make the information public, and review the catch quota.

(For more detail: Dolphin Hunting Pamphlet)

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3.Policy Recommendations Surrounding Marine Mammals such as Dolphins and Whales

When the Environmental Agency (now a ministry) was created, the management of marine mammals was left to the Fisheries Agency with a secret memorandum passed between the agencies.

Marine mammals were again left out of the Species Preservation Law when it was enacted in 1993 with a similar memorandum.

When the wildlife preservation and hunting law was created in 2002, all mammals became subjected to the law as a general rule. Article 80, however, sets exemptions to the law and rules out many marine mammals. This created a gap between terrestrial and marine mammals in their protection and management.

We call for scientifically proper protection and management, and the revision of unjust laws for cetaceans.