A Contribution to The Japan Observer Vol 7/7 July 2001

Gloomy Debate on Greedy Whaling:

Is the debate about whaling really a conflict of interests between Japan and Western countries?

Every year when the IWC meeting comes to a close, the news articles that are presented about whaling appear frequently in Japan. Media reports are mainly from the government controlled industry of information, so in this season we'll have to deal with those one-sided or highly biased reports. Generally the controversy on whaling is accepted as a conflict of interests between Japan and Western countries. Those who support whaling argue that the conflict is between Japanese who try to maintain what they claim to be their cultural traditions, and Westerners who not only lack understanding of other cultures but also impose their cultural values on others. On the other hand, there are arguments that Japan is an "environmental predator" or behaving like a "gang of thugs"


Protest Against the Plan to Accelerate Import of Contaminated Whale Blubber

According to a February 7 report from Kyodo News, 5 organizations, including the Japan Whaling Association and the Institute of Cetacean Research, have presented a request for adjustments in the system of importing Norwegian whale meat. The Dolphin and Whale Network is firmly against this system for the following 2 reasons:


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".


Stop the Research Whaling Right Now

Change the Way of Research into a Non-Lethal Method!

This is the protest letter we sent to our Prime Minister;

Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori,

Despite the deep sorrow of people with conscience throughout the world, the Japanese Government permitted the Institute of Cetacean Research to practice "research" whaling and so killed Bryde's and Sperm whales as well as minke whales. Moreover the government showed a dominating attitude towards international voices.

Again, a whaling fleet is now about to launch toward the Antarctic Ocean. The government announced that they will capture around 400 minke whales this time as well. In the past 12 years, some 5,000 minke whales were killed in the Antarctic Ocean, even though it is considered to be public property, by Japanese ignoring international agreements.

In addition, the meat after the "research" is sold in the market at a high price and


Whales are stealing 'our fish'???

makkouRecently the Japanese massmedia have hit on a new theory of justifying whaling. "Whales have increased in numbers so much that they eat 3 to 6 times more fish than humans do. Thus whaling is necessary to save the eco-system and as a policy to ensure food supply." The Institute of Cetacean Research which is carrying out research whaling on behalf of the national government's Fishery Agency states in a pamphlett entitled 'The annual food consumption of all whale species in the world's oceans' that whales consume 280 - 500 million tons of food annually. In order to further substantiate this theory, whaling boats left Japan at the end of July, this time adding 50 Brydes Whales and 10 Sperm Whales to the 100 Minke Whales that they had already been taking from the north Pacific Ocean.

Certainly this theory may sound like music to the ears of people in the fishing industry