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Quitting whaling commission a risky gambit by Japan

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It would be hard to complain about whaling if it were a profitable business. But it needs government support and "history" is a terrible reason to continue.

You would think that they could have refined their message by now. They ought to hire a public relations firm to do it for them.

2 ( +11 / -9 )

It seems to me that the J government is hell bent on self destruction over the matter, Whale meat is not popular any more, some whales are on the edge of extinction, some are doing ok, it seams to me like there is only enough demand for what they catch now, ( Surplus to research) so why go out and get more when its not wanted? its a very silly decision.

6 ( +13 / -7 )

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he is "determined to explore every possibility to resume commercial whaling at the earliest date."

He is determined to waste more tax payer's money on a venture with no returns. The market for whale meat is not strong enough in Japan to make it a viable financial venture. They cannot sell the whale meat they have already accumulated. I'm sure he intends to force-feed to elementary and junior high school kids. I'm sorry, but he is an idiot!

Now, let's see what happens when Japan starts hunting whales in the southern ocean whale sanctuary, which they choose to ignore. They will be poachers without the IWC loophole they have been exploiting for decades. I really don't think they have considered the repercussions of dropping out of the IWC.

5 ( +13 / -8 )

Japan's territorial largeness is 62nd in the world. It is a small country while the length of coastal line is 6th and Japan's sea zone Exclusive Economic Zone is the 8th in the world. Probably, the government thinks ocean and ocean business is important for Japan. Average Japanese people are not interested in eating whale meat anymore. There is a perception gap between the government and the consumers.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

A waste of tax payers money and a pointless slaughter. It's like Japan's equivalent of fox hunting - 'The unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable.'

6 ( +14 / -8 )

The “veiled threat” of a pullout is not a pullout.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Japan's exit from the IWC will redraw whale meat supply channels as the country will not be able to take part in whaling in the Antarctic and will have to review its activities in the Northwest Pacific as well.

What?

Exiting from the IWC will not affect Japan's ability to hunt whales in the Antarctic or the Northwest Pacific. All of their currently whaling takes place either in Japanese waters or international waters, neither of which would be affected by leaving the IWC.

some whales are on the edge of extinction

And Japan doesn't hunt those species.

Now, let's see what happens when Japan starts hunting whales in the southern ocean whale sanctuary, which they choose to ignore. They will be poachers without the IWC loophole they have been exploiting for decades.

No, they won't be poachers. The only international rule (it isn't even a law) against whaling is from the IWC and ONLY applies to IWC members. So a non-IWC member that hunts whales in their own waters or international waters (even international waters the IWC says is a sanctuary) is NOT poaching.

And Japan doesn't ignore the southern ocean whale sanctuary. By the IWC's rules the sanctuary doesn't apply to whaling under Article VIII of the ICRW, which is the Article under which Japan hunts whales.

-8 ( +8 / -16 )

There is no anti-whaling move arising from among citizens in Japan. Not because they want to eat whale meat but they do not feel much sympathy to the creature though they love dogs and cats very much. It is strange.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

It is frequently said that whalemeat isn't eaten as much as it was---so what happens to it all? Surely it isn't just put into refrigerated storage forever?

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Don't want my tax going towards funding it any more, the research thing is a joke clearly.

I think it would probably be totally unsuccessful in the free market, they should be careful what they wish for.

The history thing is questionable, from my admittedly limited looking around, but if people were going out in traditional boats near Japan well.. so be it.. but that isn't what we are talking about, and just because something might be historically part of a culture doesn't mean it should be now.

I find it odd the things some of the politicians make a stand on in Japan, but as the birthrate decreases and the economy slows they are actually going to have to learn to be effect rather than these pet distractions.

Its a dead end and not worth the ill feeling it brings Japan, Japan needs to foster good relations with its other free and democratic neighbors in the region, most of whom are totally opposed to any whaling.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

Cut to the chase - how many jobs in Japan are actually linked to whaling, how much money is involved, and who are the politicians representing those communities' interests? This is not about the perpetuation of any aspect of ancient culture, it is about Japan digging in its heels in the face of foreign criticism. Like it or not, here's how Japan will look if it persists: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9_JkJQ7pf0

2 ( +7 / -5 )

2018 has not been a good year for Japan. Lots of natural disasters, trade disputes escalating, work force shrinking, and plenty of negative scrutiny of Japanese law.

And now this.

2018 will be the year that Japan lost a lot of respect, probably never to be regained.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

Japan's exit from the IWC will redraw whale meat supply channels as the country will not be able to take part in whaling in the Antarctic and will have to review its activities in the Northwest Pacific as well.

Seems to me Japan's govt realizes it would be considered a POACHER if they were to continue their adventures down south & in the NW!!

So it MAY be good for whales if Japan withdraws from the IWC, then maybe Japan will be STUCK to coastal whaling, which is where it should have stayed all along as I have said a  million times!

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Seems to me Japan's govt realizes it would be considered a POACHER if they were to continue their adventures down south & in the NW!!

But most anti-whalers already consider them poachers, despite the fact that they aren't. And if they leave the IWC and continue to hunt whales 'down south & in the NW' they STILL wouldn't be poachers.

The IWC is a voluntary organization and their rules only apply to members. As long as Japanese whalers only hunt in Japanese and international waters they aren't breaking any laws and thus aren't poachers.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Yuichi Hosoya, Keio University professor for international politics, said Japan's move was "symbolic of a wave of populism spreading over the world. It will become more difficult to have an international consensus on various issues, including Brexit," Hosoya said, referring to Britain's planned withdrawal from the European Union.

What a strange comparison to make.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

"I understand we have the option of withdrawing, but there is always a risk that accompanies deviating from international rules," said Kunio Suno, 75, working for a whale meat wholesaler in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture.

75 and still working for someone else? Just more proof that folks are not interested in whale here!

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

@Don Palmer - No, they won't be poachers. The only international rule (it isn't even a law) against whaling is from the IWC and ONLY applies to IWC members. So a non-IWC member that hunts whales in their own waters or international waters (even international waters the IWC says is a sanctuary) is NOT poaching

I teally dont thinknyou have any idea how wrong this statement is. The IWC supported the creation of the southern shake sanctuary, but they did not create it. The southern ocean whale sanctuary was created and is managed by many Southern Hemisphere countries. There will be nobody to help the Japanese if they stray into another country’s economic zone. Their shops will be confiscated and scuttled.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Even as uncertainties remain over whether whaling will pick up again, traditional whaling municipalities are hoping to pass down whaling traditions and techniques they fear would otherwise be lost.

Yet, amazingly all the other nations that used to hunt whales and gave it up, somehow, miraculously survived the mind blowing " loss of traditions and techniques" related to harpooning and butchering whales.

This is just typical pigheaded Japanese oyajis clinging to " traditions " that young Japanese kids dont give a toss about. How did they ever survive loosing other unique traditions like samurais slicing up disobedient peasants and such.... its 2018 ffs.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Whales eat fish more than entire human beings do. It's a good thing that some people eat the whale.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

Missing the point. Just because a whale species is not on the verge of extinction is no reason to pursue and slaughter it. Whales of all species have a vital function in the ocean ecology. They should all, 100%, be left in peace. Everything else is political jockeying of lowest venue.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

That photo is heartbreaking...

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

I'm not in the slightest bit surprised that Japan is thinking of leaving the IWC - they are the largest financial contributors and yet the IWC constantly votes against them! Why on earth would you want to give money to your opponents?

This is one of the reasons the UK left the EU. The UK is one of the main financial contributors to the EU and yet is also the country that lost the most votes in the EU's Council of Ministers. The British people got fed up of the EU treating us like that.

There is an old English proverb which says "he who pays the piper calls the tune". When people take your money but then ignore your wishes it's time to say goodbye.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Whales eat fish more than entire human beings do.

Where is your proof of this statement. You saying the whales in the ocean eat more fish that all of the humans on earth? That's ridiculous.

The whale in this photo, a minke, is a balleen whale which primarily eats krill and zooplankton. They don't have teeth and don't eat large fish.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Glad Japan left.

They will continue to maintain low quota, responsible and sustainable whaling like they've done for many years.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Worry not. If people do not demand more than it currently does, resuming commercial supply would not matter much and is basically harmless. If people do want more, then non-endangered species commercial whaling is no harm to conservationism either. There is no point in criticising Abe or the government on this.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

More disgraceful behaviour from the Japanese, they should be kicked out of the G7 and put in with the North Korea and China group where they belong..

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

2018 will be the year that Japan lost a lot of respect, probably never to be regained.

Lets hope so, they brought it on themselves....thats how children learn, by making a fool of themselves.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

While I don't see the risk in leaving the IWC, which seems to be just another talk shop, I don't see the point in spending taxes to pay for whaling that most people aren't interested in. If they need a "make work" project for these guys surely ocean research would be more useful. Or get some guys to invent a way to clean up the Pacific garbage patch. Japan would be a world hero.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

You would think that they could have refined their message by now. They ought to hire a public relations firm to do it for them.

the people who run Japan are locked in the 19th century, i kid you not

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

the country will not be able to take part in whaling in the Antarctic

I wonder what the rationale for this claim by Kyodo is.

If Japan is no longer bound to IWC rules, why can’t it keep catching whales for research purposes?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

DisillusionedToday  04:42 pm JST

Now, let's see what happens when Japan starts hunting whales in the southern ocean whale sanctuary, which they choose to ignore. They will be poachers without the IWC loophole they have been exploiting for decades. I really don't think they have considered the repercussions of dropping out of the IWC.

Did you actually read this article before posting?

"The country now plans to resume commercial whaling in seas around Japan and within its exclusive economic zones, but will exclude species facing extinction from its catch."

3 ( +5 / -2 )

IWC is supposed to be members of whaler countries that hunt sustainable amount of whales. Whales are now recovered sufficiently but not all whales. If whalers can't hunt sustainable amount of whales at all, there is no meaning of staying in IWC and also keeping contributing billions of taxpayers money to IWC. Japan is #1 contributor.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

If Japan is no longer bound to IWC rules, why can’t it keep catching whales for research purposes?

Because their “research” permits are given by the IWC.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The IWC was created to regulate the whaling industry, meaning commercial whaling. It's conservation measures are to protect whale stocks for the benefit of the whaling industry. Anti-Whaling nations have perverted the charter of this organization, and countries like Canada, Norway, Iceland have left the IWC. Japan continued to remain an IWC member and followed it's rules, abided by the 1986 "moratorium" on commercial whaling, and carried out Scientific Whaling in accordance with IWC Article VIII, submitting data to the IWC Scientific Committee over many years, providing data so that a recommendation to lift the moratorium on certain species whose populations were not endangered could be implemented. Japan played by the rules but the IWC has been hijacked by the anti-whaling faction whose goal is simply "no whales are to be taken" regardless of scientific data. In other words, a complete denial of the IWC Charter itself. Coupled with the anti-whalers near religious belief that whales are somehow more "special" than other animals, Australia in particular chose to defend it's claim to the Antarctic waters, a claim not recognized by most nations on the planet, by fighting the Japanese Research Whaling being carried out in International Waters, thereby invoking Australian nationalism. This was cleverly played by the eco-terrorist organization SSCS, whose founder remains a fugitive from justice to this day.

Japan has tried to play by the IWC rules, and by all means it should remove itself as a member of a twisted organization that has become a political circus, and has, due to the anti-whaling faction an organization that contradicts it's own purpose for existence. And most certainly it is foolish for Japan to continue to be the IWC's biggest financial contributor.

So what special "risks" are there for Japan to join the ranks of other nations which have left the IWC or remain but reject the moratorium? None really. Let it be commercial and let the market determine it's future.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

"But that position changed when the IWC voted down Japan's proposal for resuming commercial whaling by 41 to 27 at an annual meeting in Brazil in September, prompting Tokyo to issue a veiled threat of a pullout."

Because we all know that when Japanese seeks "cooperation on international issues" they just want complicit agreement on their schemes. When they don't get it, the whole, "Let's work together," and, "what do you think of...?" quickly turn into the childish "We don't need your input!" and "You are attacking our culture!" that Japan is famous for devolving into when they can't get their way. Now when they get shunned because of their idiocy on leaving the IWC over not getting their way, they'll cry foul and ask for exceptions, etc.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

To be fair, Smith, they have tried to play the game for 20 years before quitting. At some point, cooperation is futile, especially since it seems the opposition to whaling is by people who don't eat whales themselves and respect the principle of "live and let live". It is a cultural attack disguised in environmental terms, the latter of which they cannot prove.

Restriction of a freedom is an AUTOMATIC unwert that has to be justified by necessity. The IWC's current approach is backwards.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

The IWC supported the creation of the southern shake sanctuary, but they did not create it.

Yes, they did.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Ocean_Whale_Sanctuary

"The Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary was established by the IWC in 1994 with 23 countries supporting the agreement and Japan opposing it."

There will be nobody to help the Japanese if they stray into another country’s economic zone.

And that is why they don't conduct whaling even near other country's EEZ. They whaling in their own waters and international waters.

Just because a whale species is not on the verge of extinction is no reason to pursue and slaughter it.

You are right, just because any species isn't close to extinction isn't, by itself, a reason to hunt it. But if a species isn't close to extinction then a sustainable hunt is reasonable and can be done without risking the species will go extinct.

Whales of all species have a vital function in the ocean ecology. They should all, 100%, be left in peace.

All species have vital functions in their ecosystem. That includes humans. It also includes deadly viruses/bacteria and their vectors, yet almost no one seems to be sorry when they get targeted.

Because their “research” permits are given by the IWC.

No, the IWC doesn't issue research permits. The IWC regulations allow any member country to issue their own research permits. And if Japan leaves the IWC there is no reason they couldn't continue their research.

countries like Canada, Norway, Iceland have left the IWC

Norway never left the IWC. Iceland left for a while but came back and is currently a member. Canada left and issues their own permits for Canadian whale hunts.

The truth is that 1/4th of Japan's EEZ is contaminated with Fukushima radioactive water.

That statement is about as far from the truth as it is possible to get.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Quitting whaling commission is the only way to go. The concept of endangered species is a hoax. I could not imagine that I would not be able to eat whale meat, and for that matter, dolphin meat in Japan. Japan must resume whaling as soon as possible. Whale meat is way too expensive in Japan. The only way to make it cheaper is by resuming whaling. I bet 99% of Japanese wants this to happen. Everyone I talks to ALL say whaling is an essential part of Japanese culture and must be cherished and expanded.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

What's that old saying, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen"? Let's hope the rest of the world ratchets up the heat even further if Abe carries out this move, because once outside the IWC there will no longer be any reason for it to be restrained in its criticism or actions.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Dom

Because their “research” permits are given by the IWC.

No, the IWC doesn't issue research permits. The IWC regulations allow any member country to issue their own research permits. 

Same thing.

And if Japan leaves the IWC there is no reason they couldn't continue their research.

No reason for them to continue it either as it has always been nothing more than a deceitful use of an IWC loophole with findings published as part of the stipulations.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

I don't know if I agree with the Japanese position on this. But I do understand where they are coming from. Being part of the IWC was voluntary, but it was supposed to be for the managed preservation of whales, and instead turned into an anti-whaling agency. The Japanese stayed for a long time, but there was no willingness to look at the science, even though it was expressly written into the moratorium that a scientifically based review was supposed to have been performed in 1990. This review was blocked by anti-whaling nations, and has never been allowed to happen. So Japan a was voluntarily member of an organization that was supposed to work with them to manage whale stocks, but instead just focused all its efforts to ensuring Japan could never have any whale stocks even if/when they had returned to sufficient levels.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

You saying the whales in the ocean eat more fish that all of the humans on earth? That's ridiculous.

The whale is believed to eat fish 3 to 6 times the annual catch for human consumption including cultured fish.  There are many reports about this.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

They don't have teeth and don't eat large fish.

The whales swallow fish, they don't chew like humans do.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

They've just torn a page from the DJT playbook - if you don't get your way, walk away.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

No reason for them to continue it either as it has always been nothing more than a deceitful use of an IWC loophole with findings published as part of the stipulations.

That’s the view of research expressed by opponents of whaling.

Actually, I doubt Japan shares this view.

I rather expect them to continue to conduct research of some sort in the Southern Ocean. My best guess is they continue the existing program as it is, while trialing so-called “commercial” whaling in Japan’s EEZ.

That is, basically almost status quo, except for a small number of whales for Japan’s small coastal whaling operators.

Quitting the IWC doesn’t imply that there is no longer a need to maintain a good scientific understanding of the state of whale stocks. Indeed if any whales can be sustainably harvested it’s the Antarctic minkes, so a responsible approach would be to continue to research the state of the stock over time. Without such knowledge it wouldn’t be so easy to set wise catch limits at some point in future. But then with the Japanese population plummeting, they may make a call at some point that it’s not going to be a commercial fishery for decades, and call the research off... a moratorium on research if you will.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

fxgai,

True. I just don't think they'd bother. They continue to overfish species like bluefin tuna despite knowing full well the populations are under severe stress.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Let's hope the rest of the world ratchets up the heat even further

Most countries aren't even members of the IWC because whaling is so low on their list of concerns that they can't be bothered to join. And the current 'heat' from other governments is almost impossible to find, so I really doubt they will bother 'ratcheting' it up. Oh, they will put out some nice statements but will take no actions to back up those statements.

RiskyMosaic

Same thing.

No it isn't. Japan issuing their own permits is completely different than the IWC issuing the permits.

They continue to overfish species like bluefin tuna

And by 'they' you mean Mexico, Korea and the USA who have all exceeded their quotas the last 3 years, right?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Dom,

Japan issues themselves research permits as they are allowed to do as members of the IWC. We are saying the same thing.

And by 'they' you mean Mexico, Korea and the USA who have all exceeded their quotas the last 3 years, right?

Nice try but irrelevant.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Japan issues themselves research permits as they are allowed to do as members of the IWC. We are saying the same thing.

No we aren't. Japan issuing a permit unilaterally with no oversight is in no way 'the same thing' as the IWC voting on approval of a permit after review.

Nice try but irrelevant.

Denigrating one country for doing something that multiple countries do is relevant, because it brings up the possibility of a personal bias against the one country and attacking them no matter what they do while ignoring similar actions by other countries.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Do the hustle - The southern ocean whale sanctuary was created and is managed by many Southern Hemisphere countries. There will be nobody to help the Japanese if they stray into another country’s economic zone. Their shops will be confiscated and scuttled.

Japanese whalers are operating in international water. International water is international water. Only three other countries recognize Australia's water grab.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

There are different kinds of whales. Some have teeth and eat fish, others have baline and eat krill.

I have lived in Japan for 15 years, 10 years in 5 distinct areas of Kyushu, and five years in the Kanto area. Whale meat is NOT popular in Japan. Questioning Japanese people, most young people are not interested in it. Neither are most women. Some older men are interested in eating it. The statement about oyajis is correct in my opinion. I think it has more to do with a worry that Japanese culture is being lost than anything else, and I can sympathize with that feeling, though I don't agree with it in this particular case.

There seems to be a huge effort to ignore the tuna problem. It is the most popular fish at sushi bars and they are numerous. It is also very common on franchise menus. The Japanese are clueless or simply ignore the problem, despite some efforts by NPOs to stop the overfishing of tuna. www.google.co.jp/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/24/japan-criticised-exceed-bluefin-tuna-fishing-quota

Admittedly, tuna is much more popular than whale in Japan, but looking at this kind of attitude, who is to say that commercial fishermen would stop overfishing whale just because someone else said they should? The overfishing problem is really extreme actually in Japan, and so much fish just goes to waste. However, the government does seem to be trying to police the situation, according to this article:

www.google.co.jp/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/world/2005/apr/10/japan.foodanddrink

In the end, as I walk around any supermarket in Japan at the end of the day, and there are countless fish that will be thrown away because they weren't bought, it seems it is the consumers who hold the power to change the situation with regard to overfishing. The whaling problem might be bad at the beginning, but when no one buys the whale in the freezers, perhaps the demand to tick them off will lessen.

As a final statement, I think that every person in every country holds consumer strength. If we all decided to change our ways, and not be upset when something we wanted happened to be out at the supermarket, it might change the status quo. We need to get used to and encourage LESS variety of fresh meats and fish at the market if we really care about a sustainable future and preserving our beautiful world.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Sofia M. Penabaz - As a final statement, I think that every person in every country holds consumer strength. If we all decided to change our ways, and not be upset when something we wanted happened to be out at the supermarket, it might change the status quo. We need to get used to and encourage LESS variety of fresh meats and fish at the market if we really care about a sustainable future and preserving our beautiful world.

And if "we" all decide to ignore the wailing/chanting of the animal-rights activist minority, will that minority finally stop telling the Japanese what they can/can't do, and what they can/can't eat?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The overfishing problem is really extreme actually in Japan, and so much fish just goes to waste. However, the government does seem to be trying to police the situation, according to this article:

Japan isn't unique in regards to tuna. Mexico, Korea, USA, Italy, Malta, etc. all over-fish tuna. And many species are over-fished, cod, salmon, etc.

But many others aren't. And the main difference is usually demand and profitablity. Demand for tuna, world-wide, is so high that any amount caught can be sold for a profit. With whale, there isn't a large demand. Catching more will cause a loss because it costs to catch the whale that then will either not sell or sell at a lower price. So if true commercial whaling is restarted with minimal/zero subsidies then the catch will mirror demand and may drop from the current level. It is simple economics.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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