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75% of meat from Japan's Pacific whale hunt unsold

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© 2012 AFP

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Well one thing you should draw from your whaling "research" is nobody wants to eat the stuff!

So perhaps, just possibly, someone in a decision making post might think: you know what? If people don't actually want our product perhaps we should stop producing it.

But it's a long shot I admit.

42 ( +47 / -6 )

So, basically even if Japan was allowed to commercially catch wales for profit rather than "research" nobody would buy it! end of story, end of years of "scientific research" leave the whales in peace, they are part of our finely balanced eco system.

26 ( +31 / -5 )

“We have to think about new ways to market whale meat,” he told AFP. Label it something else then- Make it available Make it cheaper. Some interesting recepi ideas. BBQ cuts. Donate to North Korea or some protien poor nation.

-22 ( +7 / -28 )

It is separate from the smaller coastal whaling programs in northern Japan, whose meat still attracts buyers because it is fresh—as opposed to frozen

Before you break out the champagne, note that, according to the article, it's the frozen stuff that isn't selling.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Supply ... Demand.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Traditional whale dishes are very good but they almost disappeared from Japan as a result of hysterical anti-whaling movement from the west. Whale meats were important protein sources for the Japanese when we were poor particularly after the war. We have now easy accesses to many other delicious meats - beef, pork, chicken etc. Thank you kujira-san!

-29 ( +13 / -43 )

So since the public doesn't want it, perhaps Japan could, say, stop whaling? Oh right, common sense and we all know that isn't common here...

20 ( +24 / -5 )

Just give it up already.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Whale sushi is my favorite, I recommend everyone should try it, and enjoy they will.

-24 ( +9 / -32 )

Japan also argues that whaling is part of its tradition and accuses Western nations of cultural insensitivity.

I was kind of holding my breath for the next occurrence of the culture card.

I used to think it had some actual meaning, but it turned out to be nothing but a punchline.

15 ( +17 / -4 )

blamed the “disappointing” auction results on food sellers wishing to avoid trouble with anti-whaling activists

Blame it instead on the fact that whale meat is not attractive as a food product. Why spend so much tax money supporting a yakuza-organized business that sells a product that tastes bad and is loaded with mercury and other toxins? (Maybe I answered my own question....) No matter what your ecological views, I think the greatest argument against Japan's Antarctic whaling program is that it is a waste of money and natural resources. Mottainai!

12 ( +16 / -5 )

The people I know who used to eat it after the war in their school lunch meal now hate it for two reasons. They don't rate the taste, and it reminds them of a time of hardship and food shortage. They associate it with a low point in Japanese history.

21 ( +22 / -2 )

IamGaijinJun. 14, 2012 - 08:12AM JST

Whale sushi is my favorite, I recommend everyone should try it, and enjoy they will.

If i want to eat mercury, I'll chew on a thermometer.

It's a lot cheaper and painless.

0 ( +11 / -11 )

Well, that just goes to show you that people aren't THAT excited to eat the stuff. Not healthy, toxic, NOT tasty. It's a start, but hopefully, the trend will get bigger.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Give it to me. I'll eat it.

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

Whale meat! Coming to a school canteen near you soon!

And, herein lies the oxymoron. The Japanese strongly defend their annual whale hunt as research to support their argument of starting commercial whaling because of their- so-called 'strong whaling tradition', but nobody wants to eat it. It defies logic as to why they would waste so much money, including relief funds for the tsunami victims, on whaling. Japalogic at its best!

9 ( +14 / -6 )

75% can,t be sold? .No worries...time for the other Japanese tradition that we gaijin just never understand - the food product mislabelling - to kick in.

14 ( +19 / -5 )

Didn't the whalers only catch about 40% of their intended "research" quota last year? So 75% of the 40% not wanted. Justifiable expenses? Huge waste of tax payers money for the sake of lining a selected few pockets.

14 ( +16 / -3 )

yakuza-organized business?

C'mon you anti-whalers. Make sense and people might listen. The whalers are a different story though. Who's going to help them move to another industry?

-19 ( +5 / -24 )

Supply and demand, guys. You're obviously killing too many for the market you have. An bets on how long it takes the ICR to ask for government subsidies to keep their operation afloat?

4 ( +7 / -3 )

What's wrong with you anti-whaling people? How are you going to give the most down-votes to Schopenhauer, who simply gave a short recap of whaling history and then went on to say that there are other options for protein today?

How is it that you read "people are less inclined to buy FROZEN whale" and then infer "people don't want whale?" I guess you just see what you want.

And @plasticmonkey, two things:

Read the article-- the whale meat being discussed is from the Northwest Pacific, which is not the Antarctic. The argument that vendors are being harrassed by the likes of SS or other activits is perfectly legitimate-- in fact, last year SS traveled all the way to Tohoku to harrass tsunami survivors that were eating whale for lunch as they struggled to clean up their destroyed village. Pig-headed arrogance and insensitivity at its finest.

Now bring on the down-votes!!!! I generally find that the more logical a post is, the more the general commenting public hates it.

-19 ( +13 / -30 )

Readers, as always, we remind you to keep the discussion civil and be tolerant of opposing views.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So people support whalers in the face of attacks from "eco-terrorists" but then the food sellers aren't buying the meat because they want "to avoid trouble with anti-whaling activists"? I don't get it. Once the whale meat is in Japan, Sea Shepherd can't do a damn thing about it, and any local Japanese anti-whaling groups can fume and protest all they want, but they can't legally interfere with the distribution of the meat domestically. Of course exporting whale meat would be a tough sell.

Economically the Antarctic hunt makes no sense. Even if the "research" shows that the minke whale population is stable enough to provide meat supplies, what's the point if you can't flog the stuff? Japan should stick to the Northwest Pacific whale hunts with fresh meat that is in demand (and that Sea Shepherd would find much more difficult if not impossible to stop).

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I think one of the key items of note in this article is that the whale meat is being auctioned off for human consumption in the first place. If whaling was for scientific purposes only, the meat shouldn't be sold at all.

In addition, the article states "Japan, however, says the research is necessary to substantiate its view that there is a robust whale population in the world." Why not just tag the creatures and count them like the rest of the world? I don't understand how you can figure out that there is a robust population in the world by killing the animals you are trying to count. It probably goes something like this: "Whales are now extinct due to extensive hunting. Oops, guess we were wrong and there wasn't a robust population."

4 ( +9 / -5 )

The last time I checked, there were over 6,000 metric tons of whale meat in cold storage but since there's also a time limit on the storage period, most of it ends up in cat food and other animal feed?

7 ( +9 / -2 )

I have wondered if Sea Shepherd stopped their campaign, Japan would just give up whaling in the Antarctic?

6 ( +11 / -5 )

I think regardless of whether it tastes good, is in demand, or is culturally ingrained in its history, the point is that there's a moratorium on whale hunts due to their dwindling population.

There's a need to preserve them so that they will not become extinct in the near future. This is the main reason Japan should not be catching them and why most of the the rest of the world isn't. Not whether they're selling well at auction or not.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

I am no sea shepard, but I would not buy whale meat even if it was sold in supermarkets near by because I have not eaten any before and do not think it's necessary(taste-wise, nutrition-wise). The older people around me say it was a necessity in the past when they lacked other sources, but they would not go back to those times again because they can think of 10s and 100s of other things tastier than the whale.

If Japan must keep whaling for culture's sake, I think they need to think "Chi-san, Chi-shou" (meaning local production for local consumption). Where the culture is, there will be people to consume them.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

I enjoy eating whale sashimi as well. It is delicious.

-4 ( +7 / -10 )

Nationalist pride and a sense of insecurity trump plain old economics and logic once again. Welcome to Japan.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

“Among (Japanese whaling officials) who continue research whaling by relying on Japanese sentiment that ‘anti-whalers are outrageous’, there must be people who are secretly thanking Sea Shepherd,” she said.

But is there any point if nobody wants to eat it? Sure Sea Shepard gets Japanese backs up and so they continue to whale. But at the end of the day, it's a hollow victory if nobody wants to eat it anyway.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

What a joke. I saw some whale bacon at the market for about 800 yen per 100 grams.

When there is not enough demand for a product...

5 ( +8 / -3 )

I enjoy whale, both as sashimi and grilled. It's not something that I would eat on a daily basis, but from time to time it is nice. I eat it when I have the chance and haven't died of mercury poisoning yet, so for those of you who constantly love to bring that up, maybe you should do some further research into just how "harmful" it actually is. If people want to eat whale, let them eat whale. I don't see how it is different than any other choice of food. If you don't want to eat it, don't eat it. Simple as that. No need to impose your views on others. The issue with so much being left behind here is because it is frozen and I can completely understand that. I also enjoy basashi (raw horse sashimi) and can easily tell the difference between fresh and frozen. Anything frozen will always taste worse than it when it's fresh.

-4 ( +10 / -14 )

Bad karma, killing an intelligent mammal such as the whale.

7 ( +12 / -6 )

I've eaten whale blubber from Alaska. I thought it was good too. More people should eat it.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

1,200 tons of minke

Imagine how much freezers that takes to store all that meat... Imagine how much power is wasted to store the meat nobody wants to eat and the government is breaking our nuts about saving electricity and raising the bills...

12 ( +13 / -2 )

Logic flew out of the window a long time ago in the whaling debate. The majority of Japanese don't buy whale meat but seem to be prepared to subsidise annual whale hunts. In my experience in Japan the pro arguments rarely focus on the ethics or cold, hard economics of whaling. It seems the indefensible logic of whaling will always be trumped by the fear of losing face and the the fear of a right-wing backlash.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

We Japanese invented "mottainai". oh hang on...

4 ( +6 / -2 )

But let's hear about how whaling is absolutely necessary for science and Japanese culture.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

So the local, traditional coastal whaling ( which no one has any problems with is totally fine and selling ) So what is that ridiculous whale hunting " scientific " expedition is for anyway...?

No one eats it..and what's sold is probably bought by government establishments anyway... The only reason it exists is to support the responsible fisheries departments that don't want to loose the budget

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Isn’t the Institute of Cetacean Research an old boys club...They've got to keep it going after all who’s going to employ Japanese politicians as they are turfed from government!

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I read Japanese story. This time was first time for attempt to use auction method to sell the meat. I suppose anti-whaling group is designing story for western media now, because IWC meeting will be held in Panama soon. Perhaps I need not eat more, after all.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Pet food. North Korea. Fertiliser. Or, best of all, stop killing them.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

@ Guy-jin What's wrong with you anti-whaling people? How are you going to give the most down-votes to Schopenhauer, who simply gave a short recap of whaling history and then went on to say that there are other options for protein today?

How is it that you read "people are less inclined to buy FROZEN whale" and then infer "people don't want whale?" I guess you just see what you want.

And @plasticmonkey, two things: 1.Read the article-- the whale meat being discussed is from the Northwest Pacific, which is not the Antarctic. 2.The argument that vendors are being harrassed by the likes of SS or other activits is perfectly legitimate-- in fact, last year SS traveled all the way to Tohoku to harrass tsunami survivors that were eating whale for lunch as they struggled to clean up their destroyed village. Pig-headed arrogance and insensitivity at its finest.

Now bring on the down-votes!!!! I generally find that the more logical a post is, the more the general commenting public hates it.

You said it so well!

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

I know nothing about the whaling industry I don't like to see whale hunting (shown on TV) as these animals I think are too large to be killed quickly and painlessely. It is distressing to see whatlooks like a slow painfull death.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

As I don't understand the whaling industry and I would like to see the killing stopped but I don't understand why japan is the victim of anti-whaling yet Iceland, Norway, Denmark where reported to have killed more whales in 2009 than Japan.

My question is whats the difference?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Who's going to help them move to another industry?

How about they attempt to help themselves first??

6 ( +10 / -4 )

whatever... future is becoming more clearer: Anti whaling group like SS going jobless in 2-3 yrs? I wonder what they will do once Japan stops whaling.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Just wondering why making profit from whale meat should be of interest to The Institute of Cetacean Research.

Research as a cover-up, you say? Well, what a surprise (sarcasm).

Looks like Sea Shepherd got an unlikely supporter in that of the Japanese public. Nice one.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

It's a shame how those so-called Japanese right-wingers are defending a practice which was introduced by the resentful American occupational authorities.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Japanese pride is intact.... and sits rotting on the dock by the bay.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

It seems to me that this is a case of supply and demand. Japanese people like fresh food, so frozen is less desirable. They need to bring the price down considerably if they want to sell it. I strongly doubt that the lack of sales has anything to do with trying to avoid confrontation with the SS simply because many Japanese people are barely even aware of them.

In my opinion, the whole matter would have changed a long time ago if they 'fixed' the loophole that allows hunting. Also, I believe that the Japanese people and or government are more inclined to listen if the protests were more peaceful and not so militant. Those kinds of protests tend to make people fight back even if there is no longer a strong motivation to do otherwise.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

JaneM: "in fact, last year SS traveled all the way to Tohoku to harrass tsunami survivors that were eating whale for lunch while cleaning up their destroyed village..."

Link?

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Liberty Joe LoweJun. 14, 2012 - 11:26AM JST

As I don't understand the whaling industry and I would like to see the killing stopped but I don't understand why japan is the victim of anti-whaling yet Iceland, Norway, Denmark where reported to have killed more whales in 2009 than Japan.My question is whats the difference?

They kill whales within their own territorial shores, while Japan travels half way across the world to kill them in sanctuaries and other people's territorial shores.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

This surely means that Japan should reduce their whale catch to match the demand. Of course, since they have so much of the stuff on hand, they should stop whaling for a while until their inventories are levelled.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

What the hell is the point of whaling? Nobody even eats the meat anymore.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I am sure that they can eventually sell the surplus whale as dog food. My dog would like some whale. I would like to feed some whale (in stead of cow for a change) to my dog.

Roger Rabbit wrote "they are part of our finely balanced eco system."

Sounds like an innocent remark. I could say it myself, "Whales are part of our finely balanced eco system." it almost sounds plausible, until, wait! I realise that we are, whale hunters are part of finely balanced eco system. How we could be possibly be seperate from the eco system? It would require something literally supernatural on our part. The Japanese are aware that they are part of the eco system and worry that the cessation of whaling by humans will destroy its fine balance allowng whales, suddenly, without us, the top of the food chain to grow in number un-checked to the detriment of fish.

Perhaps this is what anti whaling is about. In order to maintain the strange Western dream that humans are not part of the ecosystem, not-part of nature, even while science marches on explaining just how natural we are, Westerners focus upon other parts of nature that are they claim, special. As long as we can believe that whales are special, that there is another species that is so magnificient, or intelligent, that it should not be eaten then we can maitain the dream that there are some things that are supernatural, there are boundaries, right and wrong, and all those other ideals that Westerners like so much.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

I am not surprised about this. It is only rarely sold in my supermarket. Put it on shelves and people buy it. Bad marketing strategy is to blame.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

@timtak I thought some of the whales were endangered.

I'm not sure which Japanese person is going to say "mm mmm, those whale meat sure are good... I could sure go for some whale meat..."

You see, Japan isn't actually interested in making sense out of any of this... They're only interested in fending off criticism from the outsiders in this way or that.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

"Who's going to help them move to another industry?"

You mean these guys that travel all the way from Japan to south of New Zealand and do battle with Sea Shepherd and the international media? With that passion, maybe they should try sports or business. They don't seem the type to need help.

The Japanese public support them because one thing most Japanese can't stand is Japan being criticized in any way at all. So remember that when anyone asks you if there's something you don't like about Japan, the correct answer is "Nothing, I love everything". Unless you go one better and say the only thing you don't like is that there are too many gaijin, and Japanese are losing their culture.

btw, is it my imagination, or did this topic attract a lot of japanese right-wingers who just happen to like whale meat?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

"75% of meat from Japan's Pacific whale hunt unsold"

the title says it all doesn't it.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

A spokesman for the institute blamed the “disappointing” auction results on food sellers wishing to avoid trouble with anti-whaling activists.

This is lies: the police would quickly arrest anyone protesting against the sale of whale meat within Japan. How many people have they arrested? I'd say none at all, but if anyone has any evidence to the contrary please feel free to enlighten me.

Most people don't want to eat whale meat, that's why it can't be sold. I think the useless PM Noda should explain why he wants to raise taxes whilst he continues to waste money on unnecessary whaling expeditions.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

The whales died for nothing

2 ( +7 / -5 )

I think it's more of a marketing problem than a demand problem. I've seen whale available in a sushi restaurant once and in supermarkets twice in twelve years.

It's like they are not even trying to sell it.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

This is lies: the police would quickly arrest anyone protesting against the sale of whale meat within Japan. How many people have they arrested? I'd say none at all, but if anyone has any evidence to the contrary please feel free to enlighten me.

It's like saying "The reason why we can't have nuclear plants is because of the hysterical anti-nuclear protesters!!" It's all backwards.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Export to China and if it doesn't sell well there you know it's time to quit .

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Donate the meat to any famine stricken areas in the world. Who can fault Japan for humanitarian food aid to the hungry ? Sure beats this bogus " scientific research " lame excuse..................

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

@Thomas Anderson "I thought some of the whales were endangered." I trust the Japanese sources that I have read which claim that the whales that Japan generally hunts are prevalent and increasing. They have recently hunted (or attempted to hunt) a few whale from other species too partly to determine their number health and huntability.

While one could argue that species extinction is all part of the cycle of nature, the Japanese want to preserve whale species parly (or largely) because they want to keep hunting them.

I think that whales may be another example of what Derrida calls a "pharmacon". According to Derrida, Western philosophers love to find signs-that-are-broken, inferior-signs, such as: writing (Plato), speech-acts (Austin), indicative signs (such as footprints; Husserl), and recently, "red" spoken in the absence of an experience of that colour (Jackson). Western philosophers wax lyrical about these signs, draw attention to them as signs, and then point out that there are better signs: the true and propper signs in our mind, which are (co-) present with "ideas." The inferior-signs of which Western philosophers are so fond introduce a break in nature creating a heirarchy. Not only are they better than mere nature, they are inferior to the real deal. Similarly, whales are intelligent and above all they speak. They are thus special, better. They introduce a break in nature. They are different from mere fish, or beasts, but they are not the real deal, the supernatural: ecce humo.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

oops, humo> homo

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I have tried whale meat a few times in different dishes and didn't think that much of it, so wont bother again.

Personally, salmon, tuna, bonito are all much more yummy, to name a few!

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Boy, that was a great use of our taxes then.....not! You are raising taxes all the while letting this wasteful, inefficient, unpopular and destructive whaling continue Minshuto WTF??

1 ( +4 / -3 )

While one could argue that species extinction is all part of the cycle of nature, the Japanese want to preserve whale species parly (or largely) because they want to keep hunting them.

That's a bogus argument, I'm not sure how many species have gone extinct due to overfishing... Probably too many to count.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

@marcelito

75% can,t be sold? .No worries...time for the other Japanese tradition that we gaijin just never understand - the food product mislabelling - to kick in.

You're confusing about mislabelling, this happens in Europe and the US, you should gyunot only read "Japan Today" (unless you want to know what AKB's 48 member "Minami" is wearing at her mothers birthday party next year) there are many serious newspapers around the globe.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

That's a bogus argument, I'm not sure how many species have gone extinct due to overfishing... Probably too many to count.

That other hunters have not been so careful with the hunted species proves that the desire to hunt does not prove the desire to preserve.

But this is not what I claimed. I claimed that the Japanese want to prevent extinction parly or largely because they want to keep on whaling. I did not claim that their desire to hunt proved their desire to preserve. They write on their website that they desire to hunt and to preserve and I see no reason not to believe them.

Simply because species have gone extict due to overfishing, what makes you think that the Japanese whaling organisation will fish whales to extinction? I see argument as being no less "bogus."

The Japanese whaling organisation is being careful to the point of paranoia that they do not fish to extinction, according to their published research. Do you have any evidence to the contrary? Why are people so mistrustful of the Japanese?

I think anti-whalers, or their vast majority, need to face up to the fact that they oppose whaling irrespective of whether whales are nearing extinction or not, irrespective of whether whales are eaten or not. Would you eat whale if it were not nearing extinction? Once they have realised that they have 'a thing for whales,' they may then see why they get emotional, and untrusting towards those that eat them. I guess I would have a gut negative reaction to someone eating a border collie dog, and realise the need to control the negative prejudice that I would likely feel against them.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

@timtak I don't mistrust the Japanese but I do mistrust anything to do with whaling. The whole scientific research argument is bogus - it can be done by non-lethal methods. Furthermore, don't forget the claims of the hunters who claimed that whales died quickly and relatively painlessly when harpooned. I don't trust the whaling organisation because of its untruths in the same way I lost trust in the health ministry and government of my own country after half-truths about food safety. Correct me if I'm wrong but you seemed to imply this mistrust was of Japanese people as a whole.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

As I don't understand the whaling industry and I would like to see the killing stopped but I don't understand why japan is the victim of anti-whaling yet Iceland, Norway, Denmark where reported to have killed more whales in 2009 than Japan.

My question is whats the difference?

It is the cultural difference. I try to explain it, despite I know that mods are against the broader conversation.

There is much debate about whale hunting in Norway and Iceland, but not unofficial protests, because these are very rare in the northern Europe. We have to remember that Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Iceland have very close ties for 50 years. The residents of these countries haven't need a passport since 1954 and they have common social welfare since 1955. Therefore there have been lots of marriages between the residents of these countries.

In the case of possibly WW3 thing would have been more complex, because Finland would have been fought with the Soviet union and Denmark, Iceland and Norway with the NATO. But these countries were only enemies by the letter, not by the spirit. That's why there aren't large protests about whale hunting despite Sweden and Finland are against it.

Norway and Iceland are like Japan and fight against the IWC while Denmark only uses the quotas it officially gets from the IWC.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Jimizo,

The whole scientific research argument is bogus - it can be done by non-lethal methods.

I believe Japanese scientists over you, whoever you are.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

OMG, it's mottanai on a grand scale!

If nobody wants to eat it, give it to the homeless and needy then. I'm not being facetious.

Or even better!!!! If Japanese whalers want to really start a war with Greenpeace, then all they would have to do would be to capture some, (remember those three idiots that climbed on board the MSDF boat earlier this year?) then force-feed them this whale sush!!!! That might actually work as a 'deterrent'. Then bye-bye boat-ramming and stink bombs from Paul Watson and co.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I believe Japanese scientists over you, whoever you are.

Whoever the scientists are, but they are paid by the whale industry. Why would you trust them?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

If Japanese whalers want to really start a war with Greenpeace, then all they would have to do would be to capture some, (remember those three idiots that climbed on board the MSDF boat earlier this year?) then force-feed them this whale sush!!!! That might actually work as a 'deterrent'. Then bye-bye boat-ramming and stink bombs from Paul Watson and co.

Your insane idea would likely increase the militancy of anti-whaling boat crews.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@ihopetoeatwhales Asking Japanese scientists if lethal methods are necessary is like asking a barber whether you need a haircut. Australian scientists using non-lethal methods such as feces examination, acoustics, biopsy and satellite tracking have gleaned the necessary information. I'm sure you've heard this one before, but one comment on Japanese research said that its lethal methods have discovered that whale tastes good with soy sauce. Progress of a kind.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

timtak: "I think anti-whalers, or their vast majority, need to face up to the fact that they oppose whaling irrespective of whether whales are nearing extinction or not..."

Or maybe we just like to point out how unnecessary it is (read article and tell me what percent has been sold), inhumane, and the fact that Japan uses our tax money to pay for the stuff (whether it's sold or not) and even to send out their coast guard into other nations' waters!

3 ( +6 / -3 )

As I understand it, they need to kill the whales to determine the contents of their stomachs, so the whale meat is a byproduct rather than the primary product. That's the "official" line (wink wink, nudge nudge).

I, personally, don't have any issues with whaling as long as they are dealing with non-threatened species. If, however, 75% of your catch is sitting in a freezer then that's just massive waste. Catch what you can sell and leave the rest in the ocean to proliferate.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

However, the public supports whaling missions, mainly as a demonstration of their outrage against anti-whaling groups which have harassed Japanese whalers, said a report by freelance journalist Junko Sakuma, released by the Iruka and Kujira (Dolphin and Whale) Action Network.

Another deceptive reporting by Junko Sakuma who has been known to highlight the peak volume inventory figures to make her case while completely dismissing how those inventory are consumed throughout the year. And of course, AFP with their bias, reports quotes that are very questionable and unsubstantiated.

Using the latest figure, according to MAFF, the ending inventory for whale meat as of March 2011 was 4,896 tons. As of March 2012, 3,953 tons. Hence, if people want to use the inventory level as a barometer, it's evident that people are consuming.

http://www.maff.go.jp/j/tokei/kouhyou/suisan_ryutu/reizou_ryutu/index.html

Secondly, this is the first time that the ICR decided to try the auction as opposed to directly selling them to the wholesalers/distributors in hopes of increasing the price. Hence, 75% unsold simply means that the seller did not accept the bid.

"A spokesman for the institute blamed the “disappointing” auction results on food sellers wishing to avoid trouble with anti-whaling activists."

???? C'mon now AFP. Since when did SS conducted any disruption to the wholesalers?

“We have to think about new ways to market whale meat"

???? I could of swore that ICR specifically indicated that this auction was the "new ways" to market the whale meat as quoted by many Japanese sources. In fact, they go on to quote that they will revert back to the prior ways which was to sell directly to the wholesalers.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

Why would the scientific research be sold at a restaurant?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Using the latest figure, according to MAFF, the ending inventory for whale meat as of March 2011 was 4,896 tons. As of March 2012, 3,953 tons. Hence, if people want to use the inventory level as a barometer, it's evident that people are consuming.

Unless you can provide sales receipts from restaurants, supermarkets and butcher shops that reduction in inventory could be caused by spoilage, or reaching expiration date or as some have suggested being turned into pet food. It does not prove that people are eating it. Which brings up the question: Who purchased the 25% that was sold? Was it some one who will sell it to humans or to humans best friends?

I believe there are two reasons to sell an item by auction 1) The item is very precious and this will get the seller the best possible price. 2) An item is not selling at the asked for price and the owner/seller needs to sell it at the best possible price even if it is less than he wants. I would guess that it is reason #2 for the wale meat to be sold at auction, because it is not selling at the requested price and they need to sell it at any price, trouble is there is NO market for it so the buyers just ignored it. Although it is possible that the seller had an unreasonably high reserve price and that kept it from selling, but that the buyer didn't want to pay that price shows that there is not the market for it either.

What a joke. I saw some whale bacon at the market for about 800 yen per 100 grams.

Give or take that is about $100 per kilo for something that many people on this site say tastes bad! And it is still that price even though the government subsidizes the industry, wonder how much it would cost with out government help? I am curious, does the world famous Kobe Beef cost that much and is it subsidized?

I read several times above that the Japanese people don't like frozen food, I'm pretty sure that applies to almost every one in the world. But as I see it, it would be almost impossible to serve fresh meat from the antarctic without a fleet of helicopters and cargo planes, but that would be a violation of the treaties down there. So the only way to get it is by freezing it. And your nation is facing an electric shortage this summer and someone, probably the government, is paying to keep approx. 4,000 tons of unwanted meat frozen while the rest of you go with out air conditioning.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

whale meat? stinky, dark and gross. No thanks!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

"And your nation is facing an electric shortage this summer and someone, probably the government, is paying to keep approx. 4,000 tons of unwanted meat frozen while the rest of you go with out air conditioning."

Yep. This is Japan. This is the country that builds nuclear reactors in earthquake/tsunami areas, which are run by crooks who don't ensure safety standards, so that they can keep whale meat frozen, that nobody wants to eat, but they must continue to catch no matter how much international opposition - but they simply can't stop killing whales because how else would they prove that there aren't enough whales or too many, or something like that.

Maybe they need the whale meat kept for when Ishihara sends troops to Senkaku Islands - what better to eat?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Jimizo wrote > Correct me if I'm wrong but you seemed to imply this mistrust was of Japanese people as a whole.

Yasukuni wrote > Yep. This is Japan.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Wow, -17 and counting.

Haven't we cross-examined whaling to death though? How about some other environmental issues? There's heaps to choose from.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Im feeling hungry

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

This is ridiculous, people are STILL defending whaling even though nobody even wants whale meat anymore! Just give it up already... Jesus Christ. Let the whales swim in peace. Nobody is benefiting from this.

Again and again, Japan wants to blindly fend off the criticism in this way or that. It's nothing more than a pathetic face-saving device. It just can not admit that it has faults so it can not examine itself and change its course. It's just like the progression of how the nuclear accident just got worse and worse...

0 ( +2 / -2 )

spudman,

Whoever the scientists are, but they are paid by the whale industry. Why would you trust them?

They are paid by tax payers money, not by so-called "whale industry".

I have no reason to not trust them to do their job, which is to help international community agree on the safe number to catch.

Jimizo,

Australian scientists using non-lethal methods such as feces examination, acoustics, biopsy and satellite tracking have gleaned the necessary information.

If it were true, the information would have been presented to Japan and international community. But it has not been reported. It is just Australian "talk".

Australian scientists are paid by Australian government, which has policy of no whaling. Even though there are many many whales that may be caught, which everyone knows.

I don't think Australian scientists are doing research of any use for deciding safe number of whales to catch. Maybe you can share an idea of how catching whale feces can help it?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

nigelboy,

Using the latest figure, according to MAFF, the ending inventory for whale meat as of March 2011 was 4,896 tons. As of March 2012, 3,953 tons. Hence, if people want to use the inventory level as a barometer, it's evident that people are consuming.

Thank you for this information. I wonder why AFP article did not mention it? I guess anti-whalers need a new idea, since data does not provide them a good excuse to complain.

Frank Vaughn,

It does not prove that people are eating it.

I think the point is the article by anti-whalers is basically misleading. I eat whale myself, so nigelboy's information is not a surprise. The burden of proof is on anti-whalers to show that I do not eat whale meat. I do not think they can convince me, as I know I do eat, as well as other people who I see eating whale at the same time.

Give or take that is about $100 per kilo for something that many people on this site say tastes bad!

I think you can see from comments on whale related stories that Japan Today readers are not without bias against whale meat. Personally I enjoy whale bacon a lot, it is expensive because of lack of abundance of such parts. Red meat is probably cheapest part.

it is still that price even though the government subsidizes the industry, wonder how much it would cost with out government help?

If commercial whaling would be allowed, it should definitely become cheaper. I do not wish for government support for whaling either, however it is necessary so long as commercial whaling is not permitted. We need to keep the scientific information up to date for it to be possible, when foreigners behave like adults and show tolerance for others' food tastes.

I read several times above that the Japanese people don't like frozen food,

I do not really believe this frozen food idea. I eat a lot of whale which has been frozen, it tastes very fine. Of course, fresh whale is the best. But frozen is also tasty.

Thomas Anderson,

This is ridiculous, people are STILL defending whaling even though nobody even wants whale meat anymore!

You are not right to say nobody wants it anymore.

Just give it up already... Jesus Christ.

I say the same to you. Let us eat whales. You do not benefit if we do not, so leave us alone and mind your own business. OK?

It just can not admit that it has faults so it can not examine itself and change its course.

Japan has faults. I know them very well. But the idea of eating whales is not one of the faults. It is one of the best things about Japan.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

ihope2eatwhales

Whoever the scientists are, but they are paid by the whale industry. Why would you trust them?

They are paid by tax payers money, not by so-called "whale industry".

I have no reason to not trust them to do their job, which is to help international community agree on the safe number to catch.

AND:

Australian scientists are paid by Australian government, which has policy of no whaling. Even though there are many many whales that may be caught, which everyone knows.

So according to you both sets of scientists are paid by their respective governments, one pro-whaling the other anti-whaling. Sounds like a tie to me.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

ihope2eatwhales

I didn't say that people were not eating the meat, there are at least three posters (including you) on this site that admit to eating it. I question whether or not you three are eating the whole 1,000 tons mentioned. 1,000 tons or 2,000,000 pounds or 909,000 kilos, allow for some waste then that would mean that there is about 900,000 people eating one kilo each per year. With a population of 128 million, that means that less than 1% of your people are eating the meat. You are a definite minority.

If you want to eat it go ahead I will not stop you, BUT catch the animal in your own territorial waters and use humane methods to dispatch the animal and most important only catch animals that are proven to not be threatened.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Frank Vaughn

Unless you can provide sales receipts from restaurants, supermarkets and butcher shops that reduction in inventory could be caused by spoilage, or reaching expiration date or as some have suggested being turned into pet food. It does not prove that people are eating it. Which brings up the question: Who purchased the 25% that was sold? Was it some one who will sell it to humans or to humans best friends?

Perhaps that's the burden on the anti-whalers to prove the majority of the meats are in fact categorized/disposed as above. The reason why I mentioned the inventory amount is because the same people who argued that whales are not being consumed based on the high amount of inventroy (5,000 M/T at the time it was reported)

I believe there are two reasons to sell an item by auction 1) The item is very precious and this will get the seller the best possible price. 2) An item is not selling at the asked for price and the owner/seller needs to sell it at the best possible price even if it is less than he wants. I would guess that it is reason #2 for the wale meat to be sold at auction, because it is not selling at the requested price and they need to sell it at any price, trouble is there is NO market for it so the buyers just ignored it. Although it is possible that the seller had an unreasonably high reserve price and that kept it from selling, but that the buyer didn't want to pay that price shows that there is not the market for it either.

I think the organization indicated that they decided to try the auction to increase the price. Only 25% accepted the bid which means that the remaining inventory will be sold directly to the wholesalers as they did before.

So the only way to get it is by freezing it. And your nation is facing an electric shortage this summer and someone, probably the government, is paying to keep approx. 4,000 tons of unwanted meat frozen while the rest of you go with out air conditioning.

I hate to break it to you but most of the fish that are sold in the supermarkets (sashimi, especially) are not "fresh" but were frozen initially. Hence, you see “解凍”labels on them.

I didn't say that people were not eating the meat, there are at least three posters (including you) on this site that admit to eating it. I question whether or not you three are eating the whole 1,000 tons mentioned. 1,000 tons or 2,000,000 pounds or 909,000 kilos, allow for some waste then that would mean that there is about 900,000 people eating one kilo each per year. With a population of 128 million, that means that less than 1% of your people are eating the meat. You are a definite minority.

If you couldn't comprehend the website I linked to, I wish you would of told me so.

The inventory stats that I gave was based on two time periods, which was end of March 2011 and end of March 2012 During the 12 month period, there have been meats brought in as well as meat brought out and by doing a simple math, you can figure out that what was brought out of these warehouse is over 6,000 tons.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Wow! To Whale or not to Whale, to eat or not to eat. Sea Shephard? 75% unsold frozen Whale meat? Never tried it. Don't think I will. What a waste of time, money and Whales. Unlucky Whale's, Lucky dog's and cat's...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Frank Vaughn,

So according to you both sets of scientists are paid by their respective governments, one pro-whaling the other anti-whaling. Sounds like a tie to me.

I do not think so. Anti-whaling government has policy of no whaling. So, they will only pay scientists who will say there should be no whaling.

Japanese government has policy of sustainable whaling. So, they will fund scientists who can help achieve the sustainable whaling.

I have no reason not to trust sustainable whaling scientists. Of course, I can not agree with anti-whaling scientist, as they deny safe catching of even one whale. It is easy to mistrust.

You are a definite minority.

Minority should be tolerated in human society.

If you want to eat it go ahead I will not stop you, BUT catch the animal in your own territorial waters and use humane methods to dispatch the animal and most important only catch animals that are proven to not be threatened.

We need not have your permission. We need only the international law to catch whales, in international waters also.

And as I told you above, anti-whaling scientist can not be trusted to truly determine the not-threatened whale species.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Amidalism

I enjoy whale, both as sashimi and grilled. It's not something that I would eat on a daily basis, but from time to time it is nice. I eat it when I have the chance and haven't died of mercury poisoning yet, so for those of you who constantly love to bring that up, maybe you should do some further research into just how "harmful" it actually is.

Mild mercury poisoning usually doesn't kill people. It affects the brain, hence 'Mad as a Hatter' came from hat makers that worked with mercury.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

timtak

I guess I would have a gut negative reaction to someone eating a border collie dog, and realise the need to control the negative prejudice that I would likely feel against them.

Actually you don't need to. Feel what you feel, say what you believe. And if you want to change things then protest. That's how things change. There are others that the main issue is extinction and waste of money if only 25% is sold. But you are correct when you state that for most anti-whalers it is an emotional issue. That doesn't make it any less real.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

2020hindsights,

the main issue is extinction

Is it really so?? There are huge numbers of minke whales in the Antarctic. Catching the whales in numbers which are sustainable means there is no extinction issue.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

ihope2eatwhales

There are huge numbers of minke whales in the Antarctic. Catching the whales in numbers which are sustainable means there is no extinction issue.

Yes there are large numbers of Minkes according to the Japanese. But then again can we really believe them? Your other point about sustainable whaling is interesting. Here is a good idea for the Japanese whaling community and its a win win for all parties. As whale meat consumption is down and they have only sold 25% of the meat caught then they should reduce the quota for catches by 75%. Which would mean that they can abolish whaling in the whale sanctuary and southern ocean and only whale around Japans waters and still meet demand. That will keep the southern hemisphere countries happy and Japan can still have their whale meat.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Is it really so?? There are huge numbers of minke whales in the Antarctic. Catching the whales in numbers which are sustainable means there is no extinction issue.

Actually I said 'to some people', the main issue is extinction. And if Japanese keep to Minke, I totally agree that there is no extinction issue, however they have been reported to kill other types of whales occasionally.

The problem 'to some people', however, is that they choose to whale in a whale sanctuary. And when you look at it, the whale from local waters is popular (in a relative way), while the whale from the sanctuary is not. Makes sense not to whale in the sanctuary.

Actually I can understand why most Japanese don't like whale. The people in their 50's had it in their school lunches and the young have mostly never tried it. I don't know why people insist on comparing it to other fish. It's a lot closer to beef, but not tasty at all (in my opinion).

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Here is a good idea for the Japanese whaling community and its a win win for all parties. As whale meat consumption is down and they have only sold 25% of the meat caught then they should reduce the quota for catches by 75%. Which would mean that they can abolish whaling in the whale sanctuary and southern ocean and only whale around Japans waters and still meet

demand. That will keep the southern hemisphere countries happy and Japan can still have their whale meat.

Cletus,

I love it. Great insight. Great proposal. There is no way that you can argue against this? Why not do it??? It makes perfect sense and really wont piss that many people off at all. Yeah, of course, the whale huggers will still find something to complain about. But who cares? By the way, whales are my favorite animal so don't get me wrong. But why continue to go down to Antarctica and hunt whales when you are only able to sell a certain amount that you can surely get in your own waters? Perfect sense, thanks for that, Cletus.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It is because Japanese are reluctant to changes and want to "preserve" their culture. So even if no one wants to eat it, they'd still kill, because its within their culture and have disregard for ocean species. Look at the nuclear spill from the tsunami. Its not really about demand and supply. Its unawareness

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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