Stop Issuing “Introduction from the Sea” Certificates; Stop Distributing Sei Whale Meat

November 5th, 2018

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
Minister of Foreign Affairs Taro Kono
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Takamori Yoshikawa

  • The Standing Committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) recognized by consensus that Japan’s introduction from the sea of sei whales was not in compliance with the Convention that forbids commercial distribution of species listed in the Appendix I, at its 70th meeting held in Sochi, Russia, on October 2nd.
  • At the Standing Committee, the government of Japan, acknowledging the content of the report submitted by the CITES Secretariat, committed to take remedial actions by February 2019, report the measures to be assessed by the next Standing Committee, and not authorize any certificates for introduction from the sea of sei whales.
  • Japan has harvested a total of 1622 sei whales to date from the high seas in the western North Pacific, landing approximately 1400 tons of sei whale meat every year for consumption, which are vacuum packaged and frozen onboard, in addition to specimens used for scientific research. This practice that has been in place since 2002, however, is now agreed it is a violation of the Convention.
  • Disposing of all other body parts except small research samples after killing the animal in order to comply with the law is out of the question, even from the perspective of research ethics. Also, the basis of the Committee’s conclusion of the illegality is founded on the CITES resolution, which defines primary commercial purposes, and would categorize the whaling operation as commercial even if the income from the sale of whale meat is put towards funding the operation and no substantial profit is being made. The government of Japan continues to ignore the resolution, and is now identified as violating the treaty, which must be taken seriously.
  • Therefore, we request the government of Japan to undertake the following:

- Not authorize (certificates for) the introduction from the sea of sei whales that violates treaty
- Prevent the expansion of commercial use of sei whales by recalling the sei whale meat currently circulating in the domestic market


Japanese NGO Signatories

Animal Rights Center
Citizens Against Chemicals Pollution
Circle of Life
A Life in Viable Environment (ALIVE)
Japan Tiger and Elephant Fund (JTEF)
The Nature Conservation Society of Japan (NACS-J)
Wild Bird Society of Japan
Biodiversity Information Box
PEACE (Put an End to Animal Cruelty and Exploitation)
Voice for Zoo Animals Japan
Greenpeace Japan
Iruka & Kujira (Dolphin & Whale) Action Network (IKAN)