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FBI probes Calif sushi restaurant after video sting by 'Cove' producers

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Great! Jail time! Wish we would lock up more illegal activities by Japanese in America.

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Awesome work! Unlike in Japan, where they can whine and say that whaling (in the Antarctic, if you can believe it!) has been a tradition for ages, this restaurant will be shut down and hopefully people jailed for a very long time. The best part of this is if word spreads, they will be forced to stop serving it because you never know who's in on the sting.

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Great work !

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seriously, don't these people have better things to do than to harass japan's "unique" food culture?

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Oops!!!

I think this is going to be really bad for the restaurant.

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It'll be interesting to watch the usual whale slaughter defenders come on here and try to defend this by saying it's somehow 'Japan bashing' to point out the restaurant is wrong, or by saying it's a Japanese tradition.

One more thing I'd like to know: where did these guys get their supply from? My guess is that it's NOT from local fishermen!

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It is a good point, Smith. The article says it was whale, which is also hunted in the US, I believe. Certainly it has not been proven it was Sei.

It is not popular to say it, but I see no reason they could not have gotten it from US sources.

And um. Who says it was a Japanese restaurant? Actual Japanese sushi restaurants are pretty rare in the US, from my experience. Many I have been to have been owned and operated by ... others.

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Great! Jail time! Wish we would lock up more illegal activities by Japanese in America.

Did it say somewhere in the article that the culprits were Japanese ???

I know it's a Sushi restaurant but in Canada for example probably 50% or greater Sushi restaurants are owned and operated by people of Korean descent - on the west coast anyways...

I checked the "Hump's" webpage but it left no clues...

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It'll be interesting to watch the usual whale slaughter defenders come on here and try to defend this by saying it's somehow 'Japan bashing' to point out the restaurant is wrong, or by saying it's a Japanese tradition.

Naah, if it's illegal to serve whale in California, then the restaurant was wrong for doing so.

However, I have no qualms if it serves it at a place where it is legal. As a matter of fact, had some marinated kujira tataki at a sushi restaurant in Kasai last week. Completely legal.

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On another note, 600 bucks for a plate of whale?

Dear lord, why? Can't anyone think of something better to do with 600 bucks?

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The more endangered an animal is, the more oishii

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the 600 bucks was for the whole menu, not just the whale. probably had abalone and bluefin tuna and all sorts of other rapidly dwindling species on it too.

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How did they get their hands on this meat then? Is it from the scientific hunts in the Pacific i.e. Japanese suppliers?

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WHAT THE EXACT ADDRESS?... i want to eat some whale before they get shut down.

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Wasabi, the difeerence is over 500 USD and the whale is illegal. Alsop many other differences for us without blinkers.

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Another great work by Cove producers. You are our heroes. I hope they can charge all customers as well.

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Just to make a few things clear for those who may or have said that this whale meat may have come for the USA or other sources than Japan!

Check out the more in-depth article from the NY times that says the meat was confirmed to be SEI a 20 metre long 40 tonne animal!

North America whaling is practiced by a few native groups and are coastal and generally small whales to hunt such a large whale you would need a very large ship and no such whaling vessels operate in North America!

The only country actively hunting the Sei whale is Japan which take approx. 50 per year for "research"!

Atlantic whalers stopped hunting (even for "research") in 1989 due to the fact that the Atlantic population is almost completely gone (rough estimates 4000)!

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FBI - Food and Beverage Inspector? Get a life.

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This isn't Japan though, this occurred in the USA. And as such the penalty is a $20,000 fine and 1 year in jail for violating the Maritime Mammals Act.

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This article wasn't very detailed, try the NYTimes piece here http://tinyurl.com/yb2t7op

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sorry here's the direct quote: "The possession or sale of marine mammals is a violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and can lead to a year in prison and a fine of $20,000 (U.S.)."

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bentheredonthat : "seriously, don't these people have better things to do than to harass japan's "unique" food culture?"

Lol,seriously.

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Fredstar: "Did it say somewhere in the article that the culprits were Japanese ???"

Nah, I didn't see where it said that anyone is Japanese. I wonder, though, why agents needed a Japanese translator: "In early March, several federal agents, including one from the Border Patrol and one who speaks Japanese, joined their team" cited in http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/oscars/article/777171--oscar-winners-sting-reveals-l-a-s-whale-sushi-secret. Of course, I know lots of foreign nationals living in Japan that cannot speak the local lingo here, so it still doesn't mean restaurant staff are Japanese. Could be Californians who don't do too well with English.

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This is a crime committed on US soil and should be prosecuted. The law is quite clear on the matter. This points out the limitations of Japan's influence to its own borders and laws, not on what another nation has decided for itself.

the 'stimulant' laws are strict in Japan whereas their use in medical situations is common enough for family doctors.

Bascially different country, different laws. In this case quite timely. Will all (international) sushi restaurants have a sticker on their door now, no whale?

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The owner is a Mr. Brian Vidor, born in LA. And, with $60 per serving, has probably only a financial interest in whale meat. That leaves the question as to how he obtained the stuff. I read that the restaurant staff suggested that the meat came from a Benz parked behind the premises. If true, this would be rather unusual to say the least.

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Love the name of the of the place--The Hump!

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Well done. Nail them to the wall for selling the meat from endangered animals. And go after their distributors and sources too.

The only way to stop this kind of thing is to kill off the demand. And that can be done by wiping out the places that sell this stuff or making it far too dangerous to do.

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The Only thing i can say is ... hahhahahahahahahaha!!!! lol... well since 2009 Japan is in Hot water!! well i guess the US is tired of all the bull*** from the Japanese Gov.

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So where did he get it from? I hope they trace the source of the meat back to whoever killed the whale.

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Great comment limbo it covers all the issues.

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If the whale was sourced from Japan, then it doesn't say much for international trade bans (or American border controls).

I have heard that whales caught in alaska do make their way to california, however. This might be legal since the trade is within the USA.

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The problem with saying "oh whaling is OK if it's done in territorial waters" is that such an idea abdicates any proper conservation responsibility.

Whales don't observe the arbitrary sea borders laid down by humans.

So in conservation terms it doesn't matter as much where the whales are caught, but how many are.

That's why we need international organizations to oversee the whaling. Rather than just do silly things like try to ban it mindlessly.

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Interesting NY Times article on it; goes a little more in depth.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/09/us/09sushi.html?ref=todayspaper

All sources seem to indicate the place is a 'legitimate' Japanese restaurant, with one of the investigators in the sting fluent in Japanese, and staff indicating more than once it was indeed whale they were getting. It also touches on the fact that most Japanese restaurants that serve whale import it from Japan, which is obtained through the 'scientific' hunt. If they are catching endangered Sei whale and exporting it, then that goes against their claims of only catching and serving whale that are not endangered, no?

But first things first; they are set to lay charges as early as the end of this week, and the restaurant owners face charges from a $20,000 fine to a year jail time. I hope it's both, and I hope such places start to get the message. With the timing of the Cove, this couldn't be more perfect... or worse (for the restaurant).

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looks like he will be soon getting humped!!!

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If they are catching endangered Sei whale and exporting it, then that goes against their claims of only catching and serving whale that are not endangered, no?

Sei whales are not really endangered.

And "they" (the government?) probably didn't think that American based buyers would be trying to purchase whale from Japanese whale meat dealers, who can legally do so in Japan. It's not the government who sits around selling the meat to anyone who asks.

If this meat was sourced from Japan (yet to be properly established), the export from Japan is probably legal as Japan has reservations to trade bans under CITES, but the import into the USA is probably illegal since the USA does not have reservations. And they failed to pick it up.

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davidattokyo, "sei whales are not relly endangered" according to you and your paymasters.

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Sei whales are not really endangered.

The species is listed as endangered by the U.S. government National Marine Fisheries Service under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

Seeing as this restaurant is in California, that drops them in the big brown stuff big time.

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davidattokyo: "Sei whales are not really endangered."

According to whom? Japanese scientists? because they most certainly ARE on the endangered list according to most other countries that I can tell.

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I wonder if The Hump got the Japanese seal of approval by the sushi police a couple of years ago. If so, I guess they're guilty as all get out.

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davidattokyo: "Sei whales are not really endangered." According to whom? Japanese scientists?

Give that smitty a balloon for a hole-in-one. From Wiki - (sorry, no time to goggle deeper, got wrk to do ) -

Japanese scientists catch approximately 50 Sei Whales each year for this purpose. The research is conducted by the Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR) in Tokyo, a privately funded, non-profit institution. The main focus of the research is to examine what Sei Whales eat and to assess the competition between whales and fisheries. Dr. Seiji Ohsumi, Director General of the ICR, said "It is estimated that whales consume 3 to 5 times the amount of marine resources as are caught for human consumption, so our whale research is providing valuable information required for improving the management of all our marine resources."[56] He later added that "...Sei Whales are the second most abundant species of whale in the western North Pacific, with an estimated population of over 28,000 animals. [It is] clearly not endangered."[57] Conservation groups such as the World Wildlife Fund dispute the value of this research, claiming that Sei Whales feed primarily on squid and plankton which are not hunted by humans, and only rarely on fish. They say that the program is "nothing more than a plan designed to keep the whaling fleet in business, and the need to use whales as the scapegoat for over-fishing by humans."[9] At the 2001 meeting of the IWC Scientific Committee, 32 scientists submitted a document expressing their belief that the Japanese program lacked scientific rigour and would not meet minimum standards of academic review.[58]

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noborito at 04:02 PM JST - 10th March

Great! Jail time! Wish we would lock up more illegal activities by Japanese in America.

Yeah, those damn Japanese are notorious for making America unsafe! (much sarcasm)...as desmosedici posted at 05:45 PM JST - 10th March,

The owner is a Mr. Brian Vidor, born in LA.

Anyone know if those investigators ate some of the whale meat?

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Hmm, I'll have to go check out this restaurant next time I'm in California. Heh, my sister lives near Santa Monica, so next time I go visit her...

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Hmm, I'll have to go check out this restaurant next time I'm in California.

Might not be open then...

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Uh oh...going from humpback to brokeback...either way you get it raw...

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"Sei whales are not really endangered."

Like you would REALLY know.

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the Japanese program lacked scientific rigour and would not meet minimum standards of academic review.

I think everybody already knows this. Even the so-called 'research' from their Antarctic antics fail miserably to provide any sort of real data except how many they killed and how many they reckon they can kill. Minki whales are also krill eaters meaning there is NO reason to hunt them to see how they effect the human seafood intake. The world has just about had enough of Japan's antics and they are heading for a huge fall.

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Wakarimasen: "the 600 bucks was for the whole menu, not just the whale. probably had abalone and bluefin tuna and all sorts of other rapidly dwindling species on it too."

Maybe you and I have different interpretations of what a MENU is, but when I order omakase, I get one dish, with a little before and a little after. If someone is paying 600 bucks for one sitdown for one person to eat whale, then the owner needs to go to jail for a felony and the customer should be locked up as a suitable case for treatment. Brian V. gets his blood money and Japan gets a black eye.

But what does the customer get?

It baffles me why people need to eat this. Grab some broccoli and sit down already! People need to improve their lives. I know everyone wants to go after the producers, but I don't get the consumer part of it one bit. It is not even a drug or anything. Just rubbery yuck.

What is attractive enough about tucking into some whale that 600 bucks and a prison term are worth it?

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Tahoochi: "Anyone know if those investigators ate some of the whale meat?"

It's reported that when served the whale meat the first couple of investigators 'squeamishly' took a small nibble as the waiter turned to leave, after which they quickly put the meat in plastic bags to take it to be analyzed. Both, it should be added, are Vegans.

So yes, for the sake of the sting it seems they did. It's pretty clear, though, that they didn't want to and didn't like it. Acting, my dear boy... acting.

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5SpeedRacer5: "Just offhand, how much would someone here pay to eat human flesh? I bet there is a restaurant somewhere that can get it for you. You would not even necessarily have to kill or injure anyone to do it."

Hey, don't knock it! You might be stepping on someone's 'tradition' of cannibalism!! :)

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davidattokyo: "Sei whales are not really endangered."

I'm no expert but even if we take the Japanese "research" data of 28.000 animals in the North Pacific and a gestation period estimated between 10 and 12 months 1 whales calve per-litter and a sexual maturity of around 8 to 10 years before they can reproduce!

The math of long term commercially viable harvesting just doesn't add up!

The money spent by the Japanese government would obviously be better spent on a more realistically renewable, controllable and commercially viable food source!

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Here is the link to the restaurant. http://www.thehump.biz/

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"a high-end Santa Monica, California sushi restaurant"

Pricier, but most likely not as good as my local kaiten sushi.

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I would say that the owners of "the Hump" are in trouble here. It's a federal offense to import any animal, living or dead, that is considered engangered by pretty much any country. Doesn't even have to be considered endangered in the US.

Plus it would seem that the activists didn't do anything illegal themselves so it's likely that the evidence is admissable.

And if anybody lied to the cops and said it wasn't whale or something similar they are royally screwed.

If you want to know why go to youtube and search on "don't talk to the police."

Where SS makes anti-whalers look like nut jobs and Greenpeace Japan has goofed up on legal issues these guys have done the job quietly and correctly.

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I'm 100% in favor of these guys, but how could they record someone without permission? In the US it's a federal crime to record audio or maybe even video without consent. Just ask Linda Tripp, who was convicted of recording her conversations with Lewinsky. Any evidence collected during the "crime" would be inadmissible, unless some federal/state authority conduct their own search.

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So now the Americans are eating whale? The plot thickens.....Looks like Sea Shepherd should start harrassing some of their own! Jokes aside, let's all hope the owner and head chef do a little stint inside at the Governor's pleasure!

I just had a thought though - perhaps the owner and/or head chef of this eatery will claim to be of American Indian ancestry which may (possibly) make this legal?

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Great! Jail time! Wish we would lock up more illegal activities by Japanese in America.

Yeah, those damn Japanese are notorious for making America unsafe! (much sarcasm)...as desmosedici posted at 05:45 PM JST - 10th March,

The owner is a Mr. Brian Vidor, born in LA.

Yeah, reminds me of when (sometime last year) a Japanese co-worker of mine told me a friend of his in the U.S. had emailed him saying something like "I heard you eat dolphin meat and you shouldn't kill dolphins. You should be ashamed of yourself. I hate you. Blah, blah, blah" My co-worker of course didn't know what the hell he was talking about. Now that I think about this film, it makes me realize what was going on. I'm sure his friend was getting the wrong impression from this film that all Japanese people are eating dolphin and whale meat and that they are all killing them for it, and that only Japanese people work in Japanese restaurants in the U.S. It is a scary thought that there could be a lot of people like that out there thinking in the same way.

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"In the US it's a federal crime to record audio or maybe even video without consent".

The article mentions that the activists were sitting with Federal agents, so that might explain the videoing.

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BurakuminDes Not unless the chef is from the Pacific Northwest, and even then he's prolly Japanese.

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bobcatfish at 05:12 PM JST - 10th March FBI - Food and Beverage Inspector? Get a life.

What did you imagine FBI stood for? Maybe Federal Bureau of INVESTIGATION? They wouldn't be doing any investigations now, would they? They wouldn't be investigating a federal crime or anything would they?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well, interesting place for sure. I see that they changed their menu a bit. Before it read under "omakase": Whatever comes out of the trunk of our Benz, if you know what we mean, wink, wink. And planes can actually park in front of the place. That's a smart move. Nobody will notice all the Mercedes cars pulling up behind the building.

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how could they record someone without permission?

It says they took video of the meal, not of any people.

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how could they record someone without permission?

pretty easily, actually. point and shoot.

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how could they record someone without permission?

Police and the FBI can record whatever they want without permission of the people the are recording if it is gathering evidence. If there is any doubt a judge can sign off on it all, how do you think wiretaps are done? They ring up and say "can we record your phone calls"?

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"The Hump" at Santa Monica airport is owned by Brian Vidor. Vidor's first Restaurant is The Typhoon opened in August 1991 and he opened The Hump in July of 1998. Both are located at the SAnta Monica Airport.

http://www.smmirror.com/volume1/issue7/adventure.html

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It is a scary thought that there could be a lot of people like that out there thinking in the same way.

haoushokuhaki: I'm surprised that you are surprised that people there think that way. I could've seen it coming a mile away.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If found guilty of violation of Federal or California State laws, the restaurant should be prosecuted accordingly.

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In The Cove, the director and producers actually take the time to interview "regular" Japanese people to see if they are aware of the dolphin issue and the fact that much of the "whale" meat being served up in Japan is actually dolphin. So, it seems to be an issue that the Japanese themselves know little about, with the exception of a few red-neck equivalents. I think most Japanese would be sickened by the information found in The Cove. I hope at least. Although, the standard response to outside criticism of Japan and its "culture" tend to be a little bit nationalistic. A lot of "Oh, look at us" and then when people do and don't like what they see it becomes "Who asked you anyway? Stay out if you don't like it."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I have not been to The Hump, but Typhoon is a very cool pan asian restaurant with unusual fare.

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I hope the FBI agents got to pocket a sample for examination. I would be highly suspicious of any samples "provided" by activists of any kind. Let's just say they wouldn't be an impartial evidence collector.

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If anyone can look up this retsaurant and see that it's owned by an American, obviously any journalist such as Jennifer Steinhaiur of the NYT could have easily looked this up and mentioned it. However, by deliberately leaving it as a "Japanese Restaurant", it remains technically/legally correct while leaving most readers to think it was Japanese run/owned to get on the "Cove" bandwagon.

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NYTimes article clearly states that FBI were present during the sting and that whale meat was verified afterwards. FBI will go after importers as well it would seem but we'll see how far that goes.

Japan has to explain why its violating US laws in the USA. No better than Chinese and bear gallbladders at this point. It is not Japan bashing to ask why Japan can't respect another country's laws.

But the term Japan Bashing is a misnomer anyway, as it apparently means that no one is allowed to ever question Japan about anything save it be bashing. That an uproar occur at the smallest slight. Truly ludicrous logic lost in absolute ablatives.

To cast this behaviour as bashing is to suggest that all Japanese are responsible for this crime and that is totally not the case. By suggesting bashing is to brush over all Japanese with the same stroke and is an example of the nail that gets pushed down.

Americans aren't great with that, and will prosecute those responsible. This is hardly about all Japan and all Japanese but those who would make a quick buck against another country's laws.

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Betting and others; thanks for pointing that out. Yes, if they are together with Federal agents, then virtually anything can happen...

These guys at the "hump" should be going down pretty hard. The key is to follow the paper trail all the way to the Institute for Cetacean Research in Japan or whoever sold them the whale meat.

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Japan has to explain why its violating US laws in the USA.

Where in the article did you read that the Japanese government was involved in any aspect of this case?

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This is hardly about all Japan and all Japanese but those who would make >a quick buck against another country's laws.

The owner of The Hump is an American born and raised in LA. I think this is a "quick buck against one's own country's laws".

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pretty easily, actually. point and shoot.>

That's just what they told me on the boat.

My guess is that it is Marketing research and nothing more.

The owner is American? I wonder who the clients are or why there is a market for such things? Nothing to do with Japan, I suppose. Nothing at all. Never let your hormones get the better of your reasoning capacity. That's my best advice.

I'll never understand this obsession with eating whale, that's for sure. In some parts of the world, whale is customarily eaten, but, so far as I know, they have few options on the menu in those places. What's your excuse?

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I love to eat whale and dolphin meat. There are so many whales out there and why we cannot hunt them. Control hunting of whales and dolphins should be allowed. Whale meat tastes good and it is good for your health. America used to be the biggest whale hunter in the world.. So killing a few whales should not be a big deal !!!

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ttryu: Checked your bodies mercury level lately?

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davidattokyo: "Sei whales are not really endangered."

According to whom? Japanese scientists?

No, even IWC scientists are talking about authorizing Japanese whalers a quota under the new IWC proposal.

Do you think that would be happening if they were endangered?

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limboinjapan,

The math of long term commercially viable harvesting just doesn't add up!

Well you haven't said anything about commercial viability of harvesting Sei whales.

We were talking about whether they are endangered or not.

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Just for readers information, this from the IWC Scientific Committee's Scientific Assessment Group, regarding Sei whales and catching them at current levels:

"The SAG noted that the Scientific Committee was intending to begin an in-depth assessment of North Pacific sei whales in 2010 (the last assessment was in 1974 which concluded that the stock was depleted). The fact that the catches are intended to occur throughout the North Pacific out to 170°E lessens concerns about possible stock structure. In summary, the SAG notes that the present uncertainty precludes it giving unequivocal advice on the proposed catches but as a minimum, it agrees that at least there should be no increase in the present level of catches (i.e. 100 animals) until the RMP Implementation is completed which may be in 2015 according to the timetable given under Item 5."

Certainly, if the species in the North Pacific was endangered, the SAG would have said "don't catch whales of this species, they are endangered".

Instead, as you can see they did not recommend against continuing current levels of catch.

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limboinjapan,

Also note that any commercial operation in the North Pacific would target multiple species, not just non-endangered Sei whales.

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Pepin.

Recording people without their permission is done all the time. It certainly is not against the law. I also do not know of a FEDERAL prohibition of using recordings as evidence, although some states do. You can also use it as evidence in MOST such places if the person KNOWS that they are being recorded, whether they give their permission or not. You have heard of the Patriot Act, right?

If I were their lawyer, I could try all kinds of things. Is it listed on the menu? Probably not. Was it imported officially for use in the restaurant? Maybe not. Did the chef provide this ingredient against the advice and instructions of the owner? Of course. Have the chef and waitresses all been paid handsomely and sent back to Japan? Probably. Was their employment documentation erroneous? Oh snap. Just offhand, I would say that if the American restaurant owner is on his toes, we will not hear anything more about this investigation. It is being publicized because this is the best the producers and FBI could do.

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PepinGalarga,

I think you will be disappointed if you are hoping this story can somehow be linked back to the ICR in Japan.

Sei whale is available in the Japanese markets, and that's perfectly legal. Once whale meat is sold by Kyodo Senpaku the meat can go anywhere in the domestic market, and it has nothing to do with the ICR or government at that point. It's the business of the marine products dealers.

As for international trade, the Japanese government has reservations to the CITES listing of Sei whale and so is not legally bound to abide by the international trade ban in related products.

However the USA does not have legal reservations, so I believe such a trade would be illegal from the USA side, if it was indeed an international transaction.

However, whether the whale sold in the USA was indeed Sei whale (and not some other species) is something that ought to be properly verified and confirmed. There have been reports of aboriginal subsistence whale meat from Alaska finding it's way to california as well, and who knows maybe it wasn't even whale. The scientist who has alleged that the species was Sei whale has also made claims of a range of protected whale species being available on the Japanese market, without there being a shred of evidence of any way for such products to be on the market. Given the fact that bulk of meat on the market should be from research whaling, it's incongruous that he could find such levels of protected species through his limited sample set. So I personally suspect that his methods of identifying species are inaccurate (or he's just lying to push his anti-whaling agenda - he is funded by anti-whaling NGOs).

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OssanAmerica: "However, by deliberately leaving it as a "Japanese Restaurant", it remains technically/legally correct while leaving most readers to think it was Japanese run/owned to get on the "Cove" bandwagon."

It can't be a 'Japanese restaurant' if it's not owned/run by Japanese? Guess I better cancel my plans to go that 'Italian' restaurant down the street!

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Wow! Some times the FBI can be so cool! Now if they could get down to something more important like catching Osama Bin Laden?? Whale meat? Please tell me this is some how worth putting on the AP.

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It is illegal in America so they broke the law, whale meat or not, it's not an attack on Japan it is an attack on a restaurant breaking the local countries law.

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This should be in the WORLD news section. American restauranteur in America, caught by American authorities serving meat banned under American law.

And might I suggest that everyone take a moment to google Brian Vidor? He has a history of serving up over-priced taboo foods. And also capturing endangered species for zoos!

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Ossan / Smith

Of course, you are both right. Isn't it wonderful how vague language allows people to draw their own conclusions? Think about how carefully many JT readers read the news and translations, making sense of it all through exegeses?

But for most people, including most readers, the COVE producers and Japanese whale killers, the debate will come down to "you sold whale" vs. "no, we didn't." Just stepping back from the issue for a minute, anyone can see who wins here. It ain't the FBI, the sushi shop owner, the American people, the state of California, or the whales. It is the COVE guys... stirring the pot. The COVE guys would be out of a job if Beck or Limbaugh could touch this issue with a stick, but shucks, Beck and Co. can't be seen as advocating animal rights, so the COVE guys have their little safe niche.

If it matters to people because it is an emotional issue, then the more emotional, the better! The more Japanese whale killers play this as "a traditional Japanese" thing, then the more Japanese people in general will be portrayed as idiots. It is a huge dumb game of selfishness, prejudice, and stubbornness.

I don't know why people question that whales and dolphins are smarter than people. Typical everyday human behavior pretty well decides the issue, if you ask me.

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Guess I better cancel my plans to go that 'Italian' restaurant down the street!

Well if that 'Italian' restaurant down the street serves ground up panda bear in it's meat sauce, shall we all rail against Italy?

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Sei whales are not really endangered

As Davidattokyo said, they may not be really endangered. And they many not be really really endangered. But I wonder if they're just plain old endangered.

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Some times the FBI can be so cool! Now if they could get down to something more important like catching Osama Bin Laden??

FBI is not after Osama, its the CIA.

I think it is a good thing that the FBI looks into this kind of wrongdoing. Plus I never understood why a endangered species is threatened even further, just to fullfill the taste of a world minority.

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If it's illegal, they should be locked up, same as the Sea Shepherd tresspasser and the whale thieves in Japan.

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To rephrase...It is illegal, and if they are as guilty as they appear, they should be locked up.

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(Story updated. New thread. Still mysteriously listed in the Japanese CRIME section, rather than in WORLD news...)

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But I wonder if they're just plain old endangered.

They aren't about to go extinct anytime soon, even with a little hunting, so they aren't endangered in the normal English language sense.

The purpose of the IUCN listing is not to define the English language, but to raise awareness about sudden decreases in the abundance of species etc. In theory a species could decrease by 80% naturally, be in no danger of extinction, but still get listed as endangered. It's just the criteria adopted, but not always a reflection of reality.

At least with Sei whales they aren't going extinct any time soon. I guarantee it.

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Even the IUCN listing says:

<i>The cause of the population reduction in this species (commercial whaling) is reversible, understood, and is not currently in operation. For this reason, the species is assessed under criterion A1, not under A2, A3 or A4. The global mature population is estimated to have declined by about 80% over the last three generations (Figure 1 in linked PDF document). This is supported by observed declines in abundance in several regions. Most of this decline is attributable to the southern hemisphere. While a higher intrinsic rate of increase than that given in Table 1 (in linked PDF document) may be possible and could result in a less threatened category, a precautionary approach is to use the value given in Table 1, which, based on the available data, is plausible for sei whales, particularly given the absence of direct evidence of any increase in the population.</i>

So even the IUCN thinks it's possible the listing is wrong. They are just being "precautionary".

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It can't be a 'Japanese restaurant' if it's not owned/run by Japanese? >Guess I better cancel my plans to go that 'Italian' restaurant down the >street!

No, I just enjoy proving how wrong you very often are.

smithinjapan at 06:10 PM JST - 10th March All sources seem to indicate the place is a 'legitimate' Japanese >restaurant,

Brian Vidol, an American owns Typhoon and The Hump. So maybe you can explain what "legitimate" means?

with one of the investigators in the sting fluent in Japanese,

Wow. 80% of the posters on JT could qualify for that.

and staff indicating more than once it was indeed whale they were >getting.

Staff repeat what they are told by the chef. If the chef told them it was dogmeat that's probably what they'd tell the cutomers.

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The Japanese sushi chef, KIYOSHIRO YAMAMOTO, and 'The Hump' restaurant owned by Typhoon have admitted to their crimes. There are well over 1,000 news stories giving details about it if you google a few terms.

"An attorney for Typhoon, Gary Lincenberg, said the restaurant accepts responsibility for serving whale and will agree to pay a fine. If convicted, the company could be fined up to $200,000. Court records say agents interviewed Yamamoto, a Culver City resident and a chef at The Hump for the past seven years, and he admitted serving whale to two young women. Yamamoto's attorney, Mark Byrne, declined to comment on the charges, saying he hadn't had time to review them. If convicted, Yamamoto could face a year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.

Here is a copy of the actual criminal complaint:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/whale%20sushi%20-%20criminal%20complaint.pdf

Way to get that good PR, Japan!

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This story is a great example of the revolting tendency of far too many JT posters (and JT itself) to hinge every story possible around issues of race and nationality.

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This story is a great example of the revolting tendency of far too many JT posters (and JT itself) to hinge every story possible around issues of race and nationality.

Huh?? this is open an shut. Laws were broken, the contraband was sent away for testing, and now the company and people are being charged, with jail time looking very likely.

Quite straighforward. All the rest is just a ...red.. herr... You can figure that out.

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sf2k;

Quite straighforward. All the rest is just a ...red.. herr... You can figure that out.

I agree - laws of the US appear to have been broken, those charged (US and Japanese?) have admitted to it, and yes, they should be charged for breaking the laws of the US. My point was that many here seem to be using this as an excuse to point the finger at Japan, despite this being an issue of American law in the US.

Now if it turns out the Sei whale was exported from Japan, that would change things, if it turns out it came from Aboriginal hunts in the US or Canada, it's got nothing to do with Japan.

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FBI is not after Osama, its the CIA.

If the FBI is not after OSAMA why is he the FBI's most wanted criminal.

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Now if it turns out the Sei whale was exported from Japan, that would change things

Does it really? If it's legal to have whale in Japan but illegal to have one in the US, then isn't it a smuggling problem on the US side? Sort of like pointing a finger at Cuba when someone smokes a Cuban Cohiba in Los Angeles.

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$600 “omakase,” - Man... pisses me off to be poor.

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