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Do anti-whaling campaigns backfire in Japan?

64 Comments
By Anthony Lucas

Campaigns to harass Japan's whaling fleet only harden domestic opinion against environmentalists, a Japanese professor says. Most Japanese shun whale as food and many are sympathetic to the arguments of conservationists seeking to protect the huge sea mammals, but do not want to feel bullied, said Atsushi Ishii, a Tokyo University professor and author of "Anatomy of the Whaling Debate."

"The majority of Japanese are anti-antiwhaling," Ishii told AFP. "They don't want whale meat, but they don't want the anti-whaling organizations to tell them what to do."

Much of that ire is directed at the U.S.-based Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, headed by Paul Watson.

In February, Japan recalled its Antarctic whaling fleet a month ahead of schedule with only one fifth of its planned catch, citing interference and harassment from ships operated by Sea Shepherd. Watson has already said he plans to resume his campaign and predicted Japan will abandon hunting in Antarctica, one of two whale preserves in the world.

But even for Japanese opposed to large-scale whaling, Ishii said, "the anti-whaling movement has to stop. The movement is actually increasing support (in Japan) for scientific whaling."

Despite a moratorium that went into effect in 1986, Japan conducts whale hunting under the guise of "scientific research," setting self-determined quotas averaging about 1,000 whales each year over the last five years.

This practice is permissible within the rules of the IWC. But other nations and environmental groups fiercely condemn it, seeing it as a cover for commercial operations.

Ishii agreed that the annual hunt was of scant scientific value, and said that the practice exists mainly to justify an annual subsidy of about 50 million yen to the industry.

Even if Sea Shepherd succeeds in chasing Japanese whalers from Antarctica this year, it may not be the clear-cut victory that Watson describes.

"It depends on how you define victory," said Ishii. "Whale meat has not been selling well in Japan for years. The reality is that the whaling industry doesn't want more meat."

Frozen stocks of whale meat stand at more than 6,000 tons, enough to keep the country in supply at current consumption rates for 18 months, he said.

"So the Sea Shepherd attacks actually work in favor of the (government's) Fisheries Agency and the whaling industry, providing a reason to pull back from the Antarctic without having fulfilled its official targets."

Ishii thinks that the Japanese government is, in fact, trying to find a way to curtail whaling operations in Antarctic waters, but politically does not want to be seen as caving in to foreign pressure.

"If we pull out of Antarctica, it would be perceived as a total loss against the anti-whaling organizations. Politicians are not eager to accept that," he said.

Watson said he doubted that his actions were boosting consumption of whale meat in Japan, but added that he was, in any case, indifferent to Japanese public opinion.

"I don't think that's true but I don't really care. My objective is to stop their illegal activities and we are succeeding in doing that," he said. "We are not going to convince the people of Japan to stop killing whales but we can force them by bankrupting them (the whalers). I'm not interested in educating the Japanese people."

Ishii said that the only long-term compromise possible at the deeply riven whaling body would be for Japan to accept the ban on Antarctic whaling in return for a lifting of the moratorium for limited hunting in national coastal waters.

© 2011 Agence France-Presse

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

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If the majority of people here are willing to do something they won't don't want to do for the sake of their government and whalers, that makes them extremely nationalistic -- if not brain-washed. I feel sorry for people who can't make decisions that are in their own interests. If this guy's opinion is right, democracy has failed in Japan.

-10 ( +5 / -15 )

“I don’t think that’s true but I don’t really care. My objective is to stop their illegal activities and we are succeeding in doing that,” he said.

Typical garbage falling out of the mouth of Watson. The Japanese whaling "activities" are NOT illegal. Grow up, you manchild.

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If I walked up to you on the street and said, "Gimme 100 yen for the orphans or I'll hit you in the face!", one's natural reaction would be to give me the finger. If I walked up to you on the street and said, "Could I please have a 100 yen donation for XYZ orphanage?" most people would hand over the 100 yen, because it's something they don't see as a big deal and it's a good cause.

The bottom line here is that no-one likes being threatened and bullied, and so regardless of how good the cause is people get really stubborn when someone tries to MAKE them do something. If you ask nicely you tend to get much better results. The money Sea Shepherd are spending on cruising around the Antartic would have got much better results if they'd just printed out a couple of million posters in Japanese pointing out how much whaling is costing the Japanese taxpayer and how it could be used to stabilise the national pension fund, or educate more doctors in Japan, or 100 other causes that the Japanese care more about... and end the poster with a polite request that all bored Obaa-chans and Ojii-chans walk down to their local city hall, line up and harass their local politicians about it for hours on end (interspersed with endless stories about something cute their grandchild did this week) until the politicians see that they have a simple choice between insanity or cutting whaling.

Problem solved. No drama, just a few million posters. ... of course the truth is that the Sea Shepherd crowd just like the publicity and action, and don't actually give two hoots about the whales.

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JeffLee you think this is the result of the Japanese people doing it for their govt. ??? The same govt.(s) thats done nothing but shaft and humiliate them with blunder after blunder for the last 10 years?? Misguided sorrow. ..

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Good post Frungy. Watson himself says, "I'm not interested in educating the Japanese people."

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I feel sorry for people who can't make decisions that are in their own interests.

No. The point of this article is that people of Japan think they are making decisions in their own interest. A foreign power wants us to do something, well, screw them, we'll do what we want. People are like this in most places. How would Americans feel if foreign organizations started harassing gun buyers? Even those who don't like guns (and there are many) would feel intruded upon.

Japanese people see some foreign group harass and threaten their countrymen who are just trying to do a job. How would you feel?

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I suspect Japanese whalers are under more pressure than ever to take whales from places not within their territorial waters after 3/11 and Fukushima. In Tohoku area, because there was no power, frozen fish and whale stocks were dumped 90 kilometers out at sea because it was rancid. Whale is a main ingredient in dog and cat food in Japan and, although it is unconscionable to kill whales the way they do, up until the tsunami, people in Iwate were doing it to make a living (Pet food is expensive). It would be nice if we could kindly ask Japanese fishermen to take Ebisu (one of their Gods) off of their walls and persuade them that it is not a God given right to take anything they want from our oceans to trade, give as gifts, and/or sell as a form of unquestionable free enterprise under the disguise of research. Unfortunately, they simply do not care what others think. They live on an island for crying out loud. I, for one, along with the majority of people, salute Mr. Watson and SS, the harbingers of justice that they are, for standing up for defenseless creatures being poached and sold for profit.

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irreconcilableJul. 27, 2011 - 10:19AM JST It would be nice if we could kindly ask Japanese fishermen to take Ebisu (one of their Gods) off of their walls and persuade them that it is not a God given right to take anything they want from our oceans to trade, give as gifts, and/or sell as a form of unquestionable free enterprise under the disguise of research. Unfortunately, they simply do not care what others think.

It would equally be "nice" if we could kindly ask people in the United States to take down all the crosses in their homes and persuade them that it is not their God-given right to invade any Islamic country they want... I know that's an inflammatory statement, but it illustrates nicely the problem with attacking another country's religion and making unwarrented assumptions.

I, for one, along with the majority of people, salute Mr. Watson and SS, the harbingers of justice that they are, for standing up for defenseless creatures being poached and sold for profit.

3 points.

You're not in the majority. Nowhere near it. Most people don't support Mr. Watson or the SS. What theyre doing isn't justice, it's terrorism. What they're doing is the worst possible way to approach the problem, and they could have achieved far more with less violence. It may have saved a few whales this year, but it'll be decades before the Japanese back off on this topic now.. so in the long-run they've hurt the whales far more than if they'd just done nothing.
0 ( +5 / -5 )

Maybe SS should chain themseves to the whales?

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Frungy, somebody has to say something. It is just that the whalers must fight SS if thet want to kill (Arabs are capable of fighting Americans, duh). Somebody has to make a stand to help the defenseless. For someone who advocates keeping opinions quiet, you sure are opinionated. I really liked your, "Gimme 100 yen for the orphans or I'll hit you in the face!" analogy (ha,ha)

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@Pawatan

"A foreign power wants us to do something, well, screw them, we'll do what we want. People are like this in most places."

Nope. Not in Canada. The seal hunt and asbestos use have been promoted by the government, which is condemned for its stance by the world community -- and also by most Canadian people. The Japanese people lack this kind of moral strength.

I can think of many other examples of other countries where the common people reject their government's foreign policies. America and the Vietnam war is an obvious example. The Japanese, however, are too brain-washed to make such moral judgments on their own, as this story shows..

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Anti-whaling campaigns that endanger lives certainly backfire, and get attention for all the wrong reasons. Bottom line is, whale meat doesn't taste all that good, and the practice was well on its way toward dying out before all this attention. Most young people don't really like whale meat, though for older folks, it's a memory of their childhood years.

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JeffLee you think this is the result of the Japanese people doing it for their govt. ??? The same govt.(s) thats done nothing but shaft and humiliate them with blunder after blunder for the last 10 years??

Er....yep.

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Ishii agreed that the annual hunt was of scant scientific value

That surely better left to the International Court of Justice to judge (and actual biological scientists)... Even top American officials have admitted under oath that Japan's science is probably the best.

My objective is to stop their illegal activities and we

The International Court of Justice has not judged Japan's activities to be illegal. Watson is making it up (as usual). It's interesting that Watson's terror outfit finds itself with a ship held up in British courts due to damage they caused to tuna Maltese fishing operations last year. Watson seems to have a problem accepting that he isn't the one who decides what is and isn't legal.

I’m not interested in educating the Japanese people.

One wonders then why he agreed to appear on Japanese TV show answering questions to Watanabe battle-field cameraman at the top of July... (and got pasted thoroughly in the process). Perhaps he did so to assist in stirring up further anti-Sea Shepherd sentiment so as to prolong the conflict which Watson has created?

Ishii said that the only long-term compromise possible at the deeply riven whaling body would be for Japan to accept the ban on Antarctic whaling in return for a lifting of the moratorium for limited hunting in national coastal waters.

Well Australia and friends flatly refuse to accept such a deal so how he can claim it's a possible compromise is beyond me.

Furthermore the idea is silly from a conservation perspective, as the whales don't obey national coastal waters. They don't even know they exist. Whether one catches a particular whale while it's in your national coastal waters or while it's outside your national coastal waters makes no difference.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

@Miamum, yes. Because the Japanese government is the one pitted against the international conservationists, at the IWC, etc. Conservationists dont have a beef with non-whale eating Japanese consumers. In fact, they want to reach out to such people. Tokyo, however, portrays this as a struggle of Japan against the world -- and the Japanese people swallow it whole. ("Brain washing.)

It's similar with the Kurile Islands. 99% of Japanese people have no stake in the issue, but they support the gov't's policy by default, without asking any questions or raising alternatives. A treaty with Russian would open to the door to a flood of investment that would secure oil, gas, and other resources etc. from a nearby country. But very few people here raise that possibility.

The govt may have shafted the people, but the government IS Japanese, and Japanese people by nature are distrustful of foreign people and organizations. That is what sustains Japan's odd and unpopular policies on whaling, etc.

.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Greenpeace fails to understand Japanese culture they just need a cute character

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I think there is truth to this. Japanese have a victim mentality at times and feel they are being bullied by 'foreigners'. If there was a more dialogue-based effort, there wouldn't be such a strong, nationalistic response. The truth is the whales are endangered and Japan is being irresponsible for carrying on the whaling. More focus on this and showing the whales as the real victims could have more effect. You can't blame the greenies, though- they are just stepping in because governments have failed to get Japan to co-operate. SS or Greenpeace are known for direct action, not tact or diplomacy.

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davidattokyo

That surely better left to the International Court of Justice to judge (and actual biological scientists)... Even top American officials have admitted under oath that Japan's science is probably the best.

Yes and the same top American officials also called japans scientific whaling program "large scale industrial whaling" and critisised Japan for its program. True David?

The International Court of Justice has not judged Japan's activities to be illegal.

It hasnt ruled it not illegal either as the court case hasnt been held yet. But dont let that stop you making false claims.

Well Australia and friends flatly refuse to accept such a deal so how he can claim it's a possible compromise is beyond me.

And the US, after all you sent me to the site that under oath the top American officials said whaling in the sanctuary is not a good outcome.

Whether one catches a particular whale while it's in your national coastal waters or while it's outside your national coastal waters makes no difference.

David are you familiar with the idea of a sanctuary, its a place where the whales can go and be unmolested where they are protected. Maybe you should look up the idea behind it because if the sanctuary was observed and whale numbers increased then maybe limited commercial whaling could resume and the sanctuaries would balance out the hunting areas.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

The ONLY way for Japan to reduce/stop whaling is when the public puts pressure on the government. This will never happen when Watson etc are out attacking Japanese citizens. Yet Watson has said he is not interested in educating the Japanese public?

I'd be very interested to know why? The SS have had numerous ralllies in other countries. Perhaps they're only interested in preaching to the choir?

5 ( +8 / -3 )

@JeffLee

The Japanese people lack this kind of moral strength.

The Japanese, however, are too brain-washed to make such moral judgments on their own, as this story shows..

You disagree with Japanese people on a complicated issue, so they "lack moral strength" and "are brain-washed"? I see. Is this common in Canada to insult and belittle people when you disagree with their political stances? because if so, you can feel free to keep this sort of discourse out of brain-washed, morally weak Japan.

Given that there are plenty who DO support whaling in Japan (many younger people I work with, for example) and many others who do not - does that mean those who do support are morally weak and the rest are superior? I don't understand the dynamic here.

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@Teachmeteachyou

Japanese have a victim mentality at times and feel they are being bullied by 'foreigners'. If there was a more dialogue-based effort, there wouldn't be such a strong, nationalistic response.

Yes, the way to change hearts and minds (not to mention laws and government policies) is debate, and eductation. Yet for some reason many non-Japanese think they can change Japan by either a) treating Japanese people like children (such as some on this board seem inclined to do) or b) bullying Japanese people into submission. Strange.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Spidapig24

My comments are directed towards the story which talks of the "scant scientific value" of the research programs.

If you really want to continue our prior discussion why not take it back to the other story and we can have it out there? I won't respond to any of your points that are unrelated to this story here (e.g. such as your sanctuary comments, although you might like to check the whaling convention before lecturing me about it).

It hasnt ruled it not illegal either as

Innocent until proven guilty is the standard in first world countries. Unless Australia win at the ICJ, Japan's activities are legal.

dont let that stop you making false claims.

It is true that the International Court of Justice has not judged Japan's activities to be illegal. You would be incorrect to claim otherwise.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

The only way for resolution of this issue is for both sides agree to accept international accepted rules. E.g. international law.

This means that whaling nations need to accept that they must not over-exploit whale resources, they must abide by the rules and take only as many whales as they are allowed.

This means that anti-whaling nations need to accept that although they don't like whaling, it is internationally legal and accepted.

This type of compromise based on a common respect for international law is the only way out.

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irreconcilable Jul. 27, 2011 - 11:26AM JST Frungy, somebody has to say something. It is just that the whalers must fight SS if thet want to kill (Arabs are capable of fighting Americans, duh). Somebody has to make a stand to help the defenseless. For someone who advocates keeping opinions quiet, you sure are opinionated.

Say something? Sure. But if you've ever been in a relationship you'll know that the way you say something makes a huge difference.

Tell your girlfriend, "You're fat!", and expect to be spinning yarns the next day at work about how 5 big guys jumped you... and it will change nothing (except the shape of your face and your relationship status to 'single').

Tell your girlfriend, "I think it would be really hot if you came to gym with me, and it would really motivate me to work out more", and you'll achieve your objective without the bruises.

I'm not disputing that Japan's whaling habit is senseless (no-one eats the stuff, and it's amazingly expensive for a pet food additive!), what I am proposing is that there's a better way to do this.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

davidattokyo

My comments are directed towards the story which talks of the "scant scientific value" of the research programs.

Yes David, and people are allowed to have differing opinions to your. Doesnt automatically make them wrong and you right.

(e.g. such as your sanctuary comments, although you might like to check the whaling convention before lecturing me about it).

Oh lm sorry David l thought that because you cited a source it only fair that other information that came out of that meeting was open for discussion. Still cherry picking the quotes though l see.

Innocent until proven guilty is the standard in first world countries. Unless Australia win at the ICJ, Japan's activities are legal.

No until Japan or Australia wins the case Japanese whaling's legality is in dispute. Its not a criminal case to determine guilt or innocence its a case to determine who is in the eyes of the law correct in their claim.

It is true that the International Court of Justice has not judged Japan's activities to be illegal. You would be incorrect to claim otherwise.

Just like you would be incorrect to claim as you did that Japans activities are legal. Again until the case is heard and a determination handed down neither party can claim legality on their argument.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

davidattokyo

The only way for resolution of this issue is for both sides agree to accept international accepted rules. E.g. international law.

You are talking the Japanese here arnt you? The same ones that have been accused of vote rigging, the same ones that exploit a loophole in the IWC rules. The same ones who whale in a sanctuary (oh l know its research and its good and all the rest). David its exploiting a loop hole. Its not in the spirit of the IWC, if every angle and possible loop hole was to be closed the document would be ridiculously big. They arnt acting in the spirit of the argument, but thats typical though.

This means that whaling nations need to accept that they must not over-exploit whale resources, they must abide by the rules and take only as many whales as they are allowed.

David they set their own limits on their catches how intelligent is that. Oh they must abide by the rules and only take as many whales as allowed (you mean as they allow themselves to take)

This means that anti-whaling nations need to accept that although they don't like whaling, it is internationally legal and accepted.

Or they could start right now by following the spirit of the IWC and actually abide by some of its requests like ceasing whaling in the sanctuary? Only one side here is being recalcitrant and thats the side playing the eternal victim .

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

It's not a loophole.

And please explain how Australia's stance is within the spirit of the IWC. The purpose of the Convention is to provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks and thus make possible the orderly development of the whaling industry.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Heda_Madness

It's not a loophole.

Yes it is a loophole. If it was so black and white as you claim then there would be no uproar. The Japanese before the ban on commercial whaling took a hand full of whales for research in the preceding years then as soon as the ban comes into effect they start taking a thousand whales a year for research. Its not just Australia that thinks that either, just as David he graciously provided a link to a US senate hearing where the head of the US IWC delegation said under oath that japan is conducting "large scale industrial whaling". Everyone see's it just depends how much Japan pays you as to whether you support them or not.

And please explain how Australia's stance is within the spirit of the IWC. The purpose of the Convention is to provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks and thus make possible the orderly development of the whaling industry.

Exactly the convention is to make possible orderly development of the whaling industry. Now after decades of Japans brilliant research do we have definitive figures right now of whale stocks? Nope maybe next year the IWC will publish them. So what have the Japanese researchers been doing? Apart from commercial whaling with a few scientific tests?

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Spidapig24

Again if you want to rehash those off-topic points lets do it over at the old story. I'll be waiting.

Innocent until proven guilty is the standard in first world countries. Unless Australia win at the ICJ, Japan's activities are legal.

No until Japan or Australia wins the case Japanese whaling's legality is in dispute.

Even if you wish to argue this, if it's in dispute then Watson is still not able to declare that it is "illegal". Thus my original point stands. Watson is not the law, and it would appear that he simply makes it up to suit is personal preferences and fund raising strategies.

But you miss the point. I am talking about an approach to resolving the issue from its roots - e.g. starting from scratch. This means going back to prior to the establishment of the sanctuary in 1994, prior to Japan's commencement of research whaling in 1987, prior to the adoption of the moratorium in 1982. All of those things are merely artifacts of the ongoing dispute over whaling.

If the IWC is to ever be relevant and the debate is to be resolved, parties need to go back to basics, which means both sides reading and accepting the whaling convention, and working from there afresh. That means you have to get over past mistakes made by whalers which violated the spirit of the whaling convention, just as I need to get over scientifically baseless moratoriums and sanctuaries that also violated the spirit of the whaling convention.

David they set their own limits on their catches how intelligent is that.

That's what happens now not because they want it that way, but because the anti-whaling camp refuses to accept whaling and allow the IWC to set catch quotas. Don't you see how backwards this is? Japan is asking only for the IWC to do it's job - if not it will continue to set quotas as it sees fit for research purposes. Theoretically it can catch as many as it likes according to anti-whalers - indeed how intelligent is that you ask. It doesn't need to be that way if the anti-whalers accept the IWC should do the job instead of abdicating it's mandated functions so the Japan has no option but to do it itself.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

davidattokyo

"Innocent until proven guilty is the standard in first world countries. Unless Australia win at the ICJ, Japan's activities are legal." "No until Japan or Australia wins the case Japanese whaling's legality is in dispute." Even if you wish to argue this, if it's in dispute then Watson is still not able to declare that it is "illegal". Thus my original point stands. Watson is not the law, and it would appear that he simply makes it up to suit is personal preferences and fund raising strategies.

Actually it was you the other day that said in a post until its been decided by a court of law then it is just an allegation. So yes Australia alleges Japan is breaking the law and Japan alleges it is behaving legally. And that is using your argument and logic. So l would love to see you argue that one.

But you miss the point. I am talking about an approach to resolving the issue from its roots - e.g. starting from scratch. This means going back to prior to the establishment of the sanctuary in 1994, prior to Japan's commencement of research whaling in 1987, prior to the adoption of the moratorium in 1982. All of those things are merely artifacts of the ongoing dispute over whaling.

That's what happens now not because they want it that way, but because the anti-whaling camp refuses to accept whaling and allow the IWC to set catch quotas. Don't you see how backwards this is? Japan is asking only for the IWC to do it's job - if not it will continue to set quotas as it sees fit for research purposes. Theoretically it can catch as many as it likes according to anti-whalers - indeed how intelligent is that you ask. It doesn't need to be that way if the anti-whalers accept the IWC should do the job instead of abdicating it's mandated functions so the Japan has no option but to do it itself.

The same old ICR and JWA rhetoric. I could go to their site and read this David. I could counter that if the IWC had definitive numbers then it could make progress but as of this minute they dont have published figures do they? And maybe if Japan backed off on its whaling until a decision was made then that would be taken as an act of good faith and may ease tensions. But like everything Japan wants things Japans way and is too hard headed to take a step back. After all they are the ones doing the hunting all the other nations are doing is requesting it stops. So the ball is in Japans court to act.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Do anti-whaling campaigns backfire in Japan?

No, because they raise awareness of it. Without those campaigns the average joe would not think twice about the issue. (whether it is really an issue or not is another discussion)

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“The majority of Japanese are anti-antiwhaling,” Ishii told AFP. “They don’t want whale meat, but they don’t want the anti-whaling organizations to tell them what to do.”

Not true.. If you ask the majority... wait! No-one actually has!!! That would be a referendum.

Ishii told AFT is supposed to make this into a social fact. I don't think so.

"They don't want the whale meat." Get real, cut the rhetoric professor. How dumb do you think your audience is? The professor tries to suggest that that people have an explicit opinion on this. --> If they did, they would indeed NOT feel harassed by the anti-whaling group as the group would actually be expressing public opinion.

Truth is, said professor is a supporter of whaling.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Spidapig24,

As I said, Watson is wrong to declare it illegal (by your own logic of the matter being in "dispute"). Accept it rather than argue it, or otherwise retract your previous statement if you won't stand by it.

The same old ICR and JWA rhetoric. I could go to their site and read this David.

Yet I was agreeing with you - as you say it makes no sense for nations to be able to catch as many whales as they like, but that's the status quo that is persisted because the anti-whalers can't bring themselves to acknowledge whaling activities. You already know this as well as I do but you don't like the idea of not being able to bash Japan for catching whales if the IWC sets numbers instead of Japan.

At the very least, if the IWC were setting the numbers, there is a chance that Japan would abide by these rather than continue to independently set it's own numbers. If you really care about whale conservation you should therefore prefer that the IWC set the numbers.

This is solid logic. I imagine that you don't like it though - because it would involve you accepting whaling, which is what you don't want to do. Even though it would be better for whale conservation, if one believes that Japan killing as many whales as it likes is not good.

I could counter that if the IWC had definitive numbers then it could make progress

Definitive numbers are irrelevant. We are talking about whale management - definitive numbers aren't required. Read up about the Revised Management Procedure if you wish to understand why and how. (Whales aren't cows, the management science is completely different)

But like everything Japan wants things Japans way and is too hard headed to take a step back.

Gee, that's great. Thanks for sharing that.

After all they are the ones doing the hunting all the other nations are doing is requesting it stops. So the ball is in Japans court to act.

Obviously my comment has not sunk in. With this sort of attitude, anti-whalers can never contribute to a solution to this issue. Hence, one can only presume that they are actually happy with the status quo. They get to complain about Japan and thus make themselves feel good for attacking the "dark side".

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

davidattokyo

Definitive numbers are irrelevant.

Yeah typical statement. And you wonder why people dont like whaling, you summed it up in your one statement there David. Its not like you need to know how many whales there are in the world before you go huntine in the g them now do you?

Why could you possibly want to know numbers. Oh thats right unless you know how many how can you set sensible kill quotas. But dont worry about number hey as according to you they are irrelevant. After all those are your exact words

Obviously my comment has not sunk in. With this sort of attitude, anti-whalers can never contribute to a solution to this issue.

Oh but to quote you David "Definitive numbers are irrelevant"

End of discussion you said it all right there

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Much of that ire is directed at the U.S.-based Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, headed by Paul Watson.

It's Watson's eco-terrorism that creates world-wide support for Japan's whalers. Watson and his supporters promote violence as a solution to any situation they don't like.

Most countries refused to register eco-terrorist SS vessels but the Dutch and Australia registration of SS vessels allows the violent SS to represent their countries.

While the eco-terrorists are U.S. "based", Watson would never attack U.S. fishing vessels because the U.S. Coast Guard or navy would sink them and arrest the survivors. Japan should follow the U.S. example.

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Davidattokyo - "At the very least, if the IWC were setting the numbers, there is a chance that Japan would abide by these"

Oh but the IWC is setting the numbers. The number is zero, remember the moratorium? So far Japan has demonstrated what chance there is of them abiding by any agreement.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Some have mentioned that Mr. Watson has no desire to educate the Japanese people. Why does that baffle some posters? The Japanese people don’t need to be educated because they dont have anything to do with whaling. Common Japanese people, who have no pull, can agree with the devil in their opinions if they want, but the real villians are the ones who profit illegally off of whaling. Yes, it matters how you say and do things, if you want to be persuasive, but Japanese whalers do not care about argumentation or laws. That is why Watson is aloof to educating Japanese, much like Macarthur was (ironic, huh). Whalers are only in it for the money. Anti whaling countries have refused a quota because the Japanese refuse to stop plundering the whaling sanctuary. Japanese will not accept whaling in their own territorial waters, where the SS has no pull, because that would give the impression that Japan accepts that they do not have divine right to international fishing waters, not to mention CESIUM and other more dangerous radiation in the Sanriku sea. The world has agreed to give whales a break, not only because of conservation, but because of moral reasons. Eco fugitives who whale, especially while saying its reasearch, prove that the IWC is like the IAEA of whaling. They do not want to put themselves out of a job. They only care about money. Some have declared the SS eco terrorists. They ARE terrorists to the whalers wallets, thats for sure. Economic terrorists, even though this is all really research, right.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

"Gaiatsu" has worked before, so I think it should be kept on Japan in regard to the whaling issue (and the ludicrious mislabelling as "research"). That does not mean I agree with all the antics of some particular environmental groups.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Davidattokyo-"Like I said, the moratorium is a symptom of the whaling dispute. Until you get back to basics you can never come up with a constructive solution to the problem"

The moratorium was established as a response to overwhaling. Going back to that basic is what's needed. Pressure on catches was noticed much before the moratorium. Limits on catches were ignored for decades, those are the symptoms that caused the whaling dispute. You could talk the back legs off a donkey, but your arguments fail to convince. Let's see the results of the ICJ case to see whether Japan or Sea Shepherd is displaying pig headedness.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

SwissToni,

The moratorium was established as a response to overwhaling.

So you may have been led to believe.

In fact all whale stocks that had been over-depleted due to whaling were already protected during the 1960's and 1970's.

What the moratorium achieved was to prevent the sustainable harvest of abundant species of whales such as the Antarctic minke whale, due to purported lack of scientific information (this is why Japan started it's research programme). And that is why the moratorium is symptomatic of an underlying dispute.

I come back to my prior comment - unless both sides go back to the whaling convention - the international agreement - and start afresh from there, there is no realistic chance of this dispute being resolved. Anti-whalers need to get over old history, and everyone else has to accept that over-whaling has to be avoided. Shouldn't be hard to get here, but for some reason it is.

Limits on catches were ignored for decades, those are the symptoms that caused the whaling dispute.

Indeed. I am certainly not in favour of limits being ignored. I am in favour of limits being set and limits being respected. That didn't happen in the past, and that is why some species had to be protected in the 1960s and 1970s.

That does not however justify the subsequent blanket moratorium that was scientifically unjustified and banned harvests of plentiful species.

Let's see the results of the ICJ case to see whether Japan or Sea Shepherd is displaying pig headedness.

I've read Australia's opening submission on the ICJ page, and I can't say I think you'll be happy with the likely outcome.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Spidapig24,

Definitive numbers of whales are not required for management of whale stocks. Whales are managed using different techniques to land-based animals.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Ok. So many Japanese are sympathetic. But we see this on all kinds of issues. "Japanese are Sympathetic.". But they are also not doing anything about it. This "Shogani" (Can't be helped.) attitude that dominates all things political and issue oriented in Japan, renders the public here largely useless in addressing issues.

An example, Japanese are outraged by the current handling of the Tohoku disaster. Yet there are no protests of any consequence and very little public outcry.

This means that if you actually want to address a Japan related issue, you cannot depend upon the people of Japan to act. You must take matters into your own hands and act on your own.

Protests against whaling are making it too troublesome and expensive to continue. This is due to international action and not Japanese action. If left to the Japanese, nothing would change.

Thus... we cannot worry about or care what the Japanese public are turning against as their sympathy most often amounts to inaction anyway.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Davidattokyo-"What the moratorium achieved was to prevent the sustainable harvest of abundant species of whales"

I'm sure you'd love me to believe that. You'll be telling me next the moratorium is a direct attack upon Japan. Pull the other one, it's got bells on.

"I've read Australia's opening submission on the ICJ page, and I can't say I think you'll be happy with the likely outcome."

You're trying to psych out the wrong person. Save it for the court.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

SwissToni,

Davidattokyo-"What the moratorium achieved was to prevent the sustainable harvest of abundant species of whales"

I'm sure you'd love me to believe that.

You'd be incorrect to think I am I someone who cares about what you want to believe. Facts are facts. Blue, humpback, fin, sei whales. All protected prior to the moratorium. The moratorium protected Minke whales though - which number in the hundreds of thousands and can support sustainable harvests in excess of what Japan takes for research purposes.

You'll be telling me next the moratorium is a direct attack upon Japan.

No it wasn't a direct attack upon Japan, but it was a direct attack upon the spirit of the whaling convention, which has the concepts of sustainable whaling for the benefit of humans at it's core.

"I've read Australia's opening submission on the ICJ page, and I can't say I think you'll be happy with the likely outcome."

You're trying to psych out the wrong person. Save it for the court.

I'll not be at the court myself either. I'm just suggesting you'll probably be very disappointed if you get hopes high about Australia's court case.

It is one thing to have an anti-whaling policy. It is an entirely different thing for specific whaling activities to be illegal. Australia having an anti-whaling policy doesn't have any meaning to the legality of whaling activities. Wikileaks essentially revealed that many top Australian officials recognise this too, which leaves one with the impression that pushing ahead with the case was a populist politics move by (the subsequently deposed) Kevin Rudd.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

davidattokyo

The moratorium protected Minke whales though - which number in the hundreds of thousands and can support sustainable harvests in excess of what Japan takes for research purposes.

How do you know it can support sustainable harvest when there are no hard numbers on the actually amounts. Not that numbers matter to pro whalers after all. Did someone say the other day "numbers are irrelevant" l guess some things never change just hunt them till theres non left then at least you will have accurate figures right?

No it wasn't a direct attack upon Japan, but it was a direct attack upon the spirit of the whaling convention, which has the concepts of sustainable whaling for the benefit of humans at it's core.

Given the convention was in place to make sure that sustainable commercial whaling can take place you do understand that without definite numbers how can one set number that can be taken and sustainability achieved.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Spidapig24,

How do you know it can support sustainable harvest when there are no hard numbers on the actually amounts.

You are incorrect to assume that "hard", or "definitive" numbers are required for sustainable management of whale stocks.

I have already suggested that you read about the Revised Management Procedure, so I'm surprised you would ask again. To "lead a horse to water": http://www.iwcoffice.org/conservation/rmp.htm If it doesn't quench your thirst see "Google" for extra details.

just hunt them till theres non left then at least you will have accurate figures right?

Under the Revised Management Procedure it is not possible to hunt until there are none left. The RMP has a feedback mechanism which prevents this from happening. E.g., if catches were running at unsustainable levels this would be detected and catch limits reduced appropriately.

without definite numbers how can one set number that can be taken and sustainability achieved.

One may do so by accepting that our scientific knowledge is not restricted solely to simple management based on counting "definitive", "hard" numbers, and opening one's mind to other possibilities... Or if one is determined to be against whaling, one can ignore this and stick to one's opinion no matter how untenable it might be.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

davidattokyo,

Given that the IWC, Japan and other nations cant even agree on rough numbers then l think its a bit earlier to be sharpening the harpoons.

Just out of curiosity though say the Japanese are allowed to resume whaling on a commercial basis that will mean no whaling in the sanctuary right? So will they actually respect those boundaries or will they find some loophole to continue to exploit whales in this sanctuary?

As l have said in other discussions this whole point may be mute as it stands right now Japans factory ship cannot operate in Antarctic waters this year anyway? So it may not be SS that stops this years campaign but rather the Antarctic treaty.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Spidapig24,

Given that the IWC, Japan and other nations cant even agree on rough numbers then l think its a bit earlier to be sharpening the harpoons.

On the contrary, the IWC Scientific Committee already has everything they need to set sustainable catch limits for species such as the Bryde's and minke whale in the western north pacific, and the minke and fin whale in the North Atlantic, including "rough numbers". Certainly official estimates for Antarctic minke whales are out of date as of now, but the scientific committee says these will be agreed next year, and the midpoint number looking likely to be somewhere between 500,000 and 600,000 if I am interpreting their recent report correctly.

It is only for political reasons that the IWC doesn't set catch limits, which contravenes the spirit of the whaling convention.

Just out of curiosity though

OK!

say the Japanese are allowed to resume whaling on a commercial basis that will mean no whaling in the sanctuary right?

Currently Japan has an official IWC objection to the sanctuary with respect to Antarctic minke whales. You can read the convention to learn about those.

But I think you need to understand the reason the sanctuary was established was because at the time anti-whalers were worried the advent of the Revised Management Procedure would lead to the lifting of the "moratorium". They needed a new excuse to prevent Japanese whaling so they came up with the idea for making the entire whaling grounds of the Antarctic a "sanctuary", and were able to push the proposal through by force of numbers, despite there being no scientific committee advice in favour of having it.

So, if commercial whaling is resumed (the "moratorium" is lifted), it seems likely that the "sanctuary" would be at least modified at the same time.

There would be no point in just lifting the "moratorium" if there could still be no whaling in the Antarctic whaling grounds. The "moratorium" and "sanctuary" are both symptoms of the underlying dispute that anti-whaling nations have with the whaling convention. When the core issue is addressed both these symptoms will be resolved (or the IWC will be completely abandoned first perhaps)

this whole point may be mute as it stands right now Japans factory ship cannot operate in Antarctic waters this year anyway?

At the recent IWC meeting the Japanese delegate stated that they would be continuing their research, with SS stated as their only significant obstacle. So one assumes they have plans for addressing the fuel issue excuse that anti-whalers have been trumpeting.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

davidattokyo

"Say the Japanese are allowed to resume whaling on a commercial basis that will mean no whaling in the sanctuary right?" Currently Japan has an official IWC objection to the sanctuary with respect to Antarctic minke whales. You can read the convention to learn about those.

Already have, and it seems that Japan complains and moans about everything that doesnt suit Japan. But seeing how Japan deals with everything from whaling to territorial disputes it seems to be the national way. If it doesnt suit Japan complain, moan, whine and sook until something else comes up. Well Japan can object all it likes about the sanctuary, just like Australia can object all it likes to Japanese whaling.

But I think you need to understand the reason the sanctuary was established was because at the time anti-whalers were worried the advent of the Revised Management Procedure would lead to the lifting of the "moratorium". They needed a new excuse to prevent Japanese whaling so they came up with the idea for making the entire whaling grounds of the Antarctic a "sanctuary", and were able to push the proposal through by force of numbers, despite there being no scientific committee advice in favour of having it.

You really have a clouded view of things dont you. To much reading the JWA website lm thinking, next you will be saying that opposition to Japanese whaling is racially motivated (after all thats what the JWA claims). If you look at the countries that oppose Japanese whaling they all have strong environmental policies (unlike Japan). Australia for example has declared large areas of its coast as marine parks that are off limits to all fishing. Why? to protect fish numbers so that they will be around for future generations. They have this on top of quotas for all species captured. Now as a person who goes fishing regularly l accept these "sanctuaries" because l know while its a nuisance it ensures health fish stocks and safe guards the fish for my kids and their kids. That is the idea of a sanctuary but all you and the Japanese see is an excuse to stop Japanese whaling. Maybe for once you and the clowns in Japan can think of the environment for once rather than just take take take. What % of the ocean does this sanctuary take up. It is one area if you want to whale do it somewhere else its not like the entire ocean is a sanctuary (unfortunately).

There would be no point in just lifting the "moratorium" if there could still be no whaling in the Antarctic whaling grounds. The "moratorium" and "sanctuary" are both symptoms of the underlying dispute that anti-whaling nations have with the whaling convention.

Actually l agree they are symptoms that Japan cant be trusted and world opinion wants whales protected and as per usual Japan doesnt give a stuff about world opinion and only worries about Japan. Whaling, Fukushima, dumping of contaminated water all signs Japan doesnt give a rats about anyone but Japan.

At the recent IWC meeting the Japanese delegate stated that they would be continuing their research, with SS stated as their only significant obstacle. So one assumes they have plans for addressing the fuel issue excuse that anti-whalers have been trumpeting.

Well given it hasnt been done yet and the fuel isnt the only issue the other big hurdle is the dumping of the whale waste over the side. But Japan being Japan they will go anyway and play the victim like they usually do.

As you cant stand to not get the final word in and your repeating of JWA mantras is boring me l hand the floor to you David.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Spidapig24,

To write comments such as yours then conclude by saying I am desperate to have the last word shows you in a poor light. If you reveal misconceptions or flawed thinking in terms of conservation you can expect due response.

Japan is using a legal objection procedure that is specified as part of the whaling convention. Lots of nations have such objections in a range of conventions. Complaining about nations exercising their legal rights just sounds like sour grapes.

Australia's marine parks don't help the IUCN Red Listed "critically endangered" tuna species that Australia commercially exploits for export to the Japanese market. If you want to trumpet model nations, Australia would seem to be an unfit choice don't you think?

I suggest that you stop looking at these issues as "them and us", take a step back and look at the bigger picture - we're all humans on this earth - be consistent about what you are for and what you are against, rather than who.

As for me - I'm for sustainable fisheries.

The difference between the whale sanctuary and your fish sanctuaries is that it covers the entire whaling grounds and furthermore has nothing to do with conserving whales for us and our kids. The idea is to prevent all exploitation of whales, forever. So comparing the whale sanctuary to your fish sanctuary is apples and oranges.

I totally accept whale sanctuaries may serve conservation purposes, but the existing Southern Ocean Sanctuary that we have been talking about precludes sustainable exploitation.

This is obvious from the boundaries and species covered by the sanctuary (e.g., the entire whaling grounds, and even abundant species).

Thus I cannot support such a sanctuary.

Sustainable exploitation under the RMP is not "take take take".

One of the scientists involved in the development of the RMP has remarked that "it is so conservative that it will waste much of a potential harvest", and that if the concepts of the RMP were applied to many US fisheries those would be shut down immediately...

Despite the exceeding conservatism of the RMP, I'm 100% for it. Your trying to paint those in favour as being all about "take take take" is entirely wrong.

You suggest whaling in places besides the sanctuary, which is designated on the whaling grounds. An alternative would be to hunt on their breeding/birthing grounds. For conservation reasons hunting whales on their breeding/birthing grounds is Bad and not done. So if you want a sanctuary, I'd be all for declaring one on the breeding/birthing grounds to preclude any such whaling there in future, in exchange for lifting the sanctuary from the whaling grounds. What do you think?

Finally, your talk of "whale waste" is an odd one, since whales don't come from the sky. Anti-whalers have many excuses, but they would be well advised to just say "we don't like whaling" rather than try to justify their position based on other more spurious grounds.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Davidattokyo-"You'd be incorrect to think I am I someone who cares about what you want to believe."

You care enough to roll out and repeat the tired standard pro-whaling smoke and mirrors. Why is that? From my perspective the pro-whaling argument goes, 'if we bluff, wriggle and squirm long enough, maybe they'll all get bored and go away'. Not happening is it? An abject failure to convince.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

If you don't like whaling, just say it SwissToni. No need to dress your arguments up in anything - be proud if you simply don't like whaling. Lame excuses don't flatter you, so just be straight up - honest - you are welcome to believe whatever tripe you like.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Davidattokyo, I don't see that I've written any lame excuses. I don't like the tired old rhetoric that gets reeled out year after year to cloud the situation. There is no strong argument for whaling, the end product is unpopular, uneconomic and drains the public purse. It's a waste of time, effort and money.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Lots of things are a waste of time, effort and money (especially depending on different people's perspective).

But the logical conclusion to be drawn from such beliefs is that the IWC should permit commercial whaling, because, if what you believe is true, commercial whaling would subsequently fail and see it come to a natural end. That's the way of capitalist ventures, is it not?

If commercial whaling failed in this manner, there would be no argument from me about it. What I care about is more due process, international laws and people's rights being honoured in good faith, than whaling per se.

But I can't see why someone would oppose it if they just thought it was useless, unless they were speaking solely from their individual perspective and failing to recognise that others may place enough value on the products of whaling to make it a worthwhile venture. But that should be their business, IMO. If you disagree then it suggests to me that there's indeed something else behind your opposition to whaling (such as you simple don't like it, for example)

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Davidattokyo - "Lots of things are a waste of time, effort and money (especially depending on different people's perspective). But the logical conclusion to be drawn from such beliefs is that the IWC should permit commercial whaling"

That's quite a leap, you should be a car salesman.. The logical conclusion I came to is that as whaling is a waste of time, effort and money, you should stop trying to defend the indefensible. You're clearly an intelligent man, you should divert your efforts to something productive.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I "should", should I. I'll not read too much into your choice of words, but it is revealing.

You feel that whaling is a waste of time, effort and money, fine. That's your opinion. What about people who feel differently?

What I am defending is the notion that people have the right to make such decisions for themselves - rather than let people like yourself do it for them.

You may see whaling as "indefensible", but that's merely your opinion. It's not a reason for people who hold different opinions to act differently. I'm sure you are intelligent yourself, but I don't think anyone can correctly claim that they know best about matters that concern people besides themselves.

you should divert your efforts to something productive.

If I may turn the table 180, you should stop thinking that you know what other people should do...

I notice that you said nothing of allowing commercial whaling so that it can die a death of natural capitalism. Perhaps you prefer a state controlled approach to society, where "smart" people decide everything, rather than letting free people make their own decisions and bear the consequences as well as reap the benefits, which is pretty much the standard in the developed world?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Davidattokyo-"What I am defending is the notion that people have the right to make such decisions for themselves - rather than let people like yourself do it for them."

Positioning yourself as a defender of human rights is laudable, but not demonstrated by your arguments. You defend whaling on arguable research, dubious economics and so called sustainability. At the very least you're disingenuous. If freedom to make decisions were your true reason' You would have no problems with peoples decision to resist.

"you should stop thinking that you know what other people should do"

If those people are arguing black is white simply to cloud the argument, then they should do something more useful. If those don't like being told, fine, they can dislike it and continue wasting their time.

"I notice that you said nothing of allowing commercial whaling so that it can die a death of natural capitalism"

Whale consumption was in huge decline since the 1960s. Had commercial capitalism had it's way it would have died a death. Unfortunately state subsidies didn't, and still don't allow that. As I said, a waste of time and money.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

SwissToni,

The Aussies have taken the research argument to the ICJ so "arguable" I grant you, but I doubt you'll be impressed with the ICJ's ruling.

There is no serious argument against the sustainability of any future whaling managed by the IWC, as the IWC has adopted the Revised Management Procedure as it's means to set sustainable catch limits. It's only because of political issues that it doesn't set catch limits accordingly. (To me, anyone who wants to argue along these lines is living in denial, most probably a subconscious reluctance to accept it because of perhaps cultural programming against whaling - I had this a bit too when I was growing up but unshackled my mind at some point.)

Finally you yourself note that government meddling with whaling continues and that it is unfortunate (you think it would have died already had this not been the case).

So, I say let's stop the political meddling, have the IWC set sustainable catch limits in accordance with internationally law and the IWC's own recognised safe procedures (e.g. the Revised Management Procedure), then leave business people to decide how many whales of the quote they want to catch. It's their time and money to waste.

Problem solved. Nothing to be scared of, plus even the whalers are happy. Everyone happy, that's good right? (Or are you not so sure of your views as you make out...?)

If freedom to make decisions were your true reason' You would have no problems with peoples decision to resist.

Believing in freedom does not mean I recognise some (imaginary) "right" of people to deny the rights of others, as is happening in the case of whaling. Having opinion is not the same as having the right to deny (something that the Aussies are going to learn the hard way at the ICJ).

If those don't like being told, fine, they can dislike it and continue wasting their time.

That's better, although it's still amusing that you actually think you know better than people who are closer to this issue. There was a story the other day about a guy in Ishinomaki who is going to start up a whale meat business again. But what would he know, right? If only he had your advice to save him from wasting his time and money...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Davidattokyo- " it's still amusing that you actually think you know better than people who are closer to this issue."

There's a huge difference between talking to those capable of forming an opinion, those who will be led and those with a vested interest. If there's funding to lose people will say anything and sweep what doesn't really work under the carpet in the hope it will go away. I'm including you in that as you're repeating yourself again.

"So, I say let's stop the political meddling, have the IWC set sustainable catch limits in accordance with internationally law".

Or, much simpler, cost effective and politic, drop the whole thing and go do somethjing useful instead. My reasoning is sound.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Actually it was [davidattokyo] the other day that said in a post until its been decided by a court of law then it is just an allegation. So yes Australia alleges Japan is breaking the law and Japan alleges it is behaving legally. And that is using your argument and logic. So l would love to see you argue that one.

Legal until declared illegal. Hasn't been declared illegal. So, legal.

This is not rocket science, Spidapig24.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Nessie

"Actually it was [davidattokyo] the other day that said in a post until its been decided by a court of law then it is just an allegation. So yes Australia alleges Japan is breaking the law and Japan alleges it is behaving legally. And that is using your argument and logic. So l would love to see you argue that one." Legal until declared illegal. Hasn't been declared illegal. So, legal. This is not rocket science, Spidapig24

Well Nessie given that that is a part statement made in relation to a completely different thread what is its relevance here?

If you are going to quote something please do so in context otherwise its not accurate and is just trolling

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

SwissToni,

Or, much simpler, cost effective and politic, drop the whole thing and go do somethjing useful instead. My reasoning is sound.

Mmm, drop the IWC and whaling would be even more unregulated than it already is, so from a conservation perspective (true conservation I mean - another thing I for one care about) that would be potentially Bad.

But at least people would then be able to go about their business without the likes of you patronizing them, which would be Good.

The anti-whaling campaigners will have taken note for certain.

As for me, thanks for this little discussion. Don't let me keep you from your list of more "useful" things to do!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Davidattokyo, Well, you could just drop the whaling and do the conservation thing. That way the IWC gets to do what it seems to want to now, the anti whalers are happy, you can be happy as something you care about is supported and no more patronising. Job done!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Uh, I think you're forgetting about the whalers... But thanks for the "useful" suggestions, once again!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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