A whaling vessel leaves Ishinomaki Port in Miyagi Prefecture on Saturday morning. Photo: KYODO
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Japan's commercial whaling season begins in coastal waters

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No one has a right to judge.

Japan too often acts like a spoiled child. If japan does not like an international agreement it signed, then it resigns or just ignores what was signed before. Indeed, Japan acted in this way not only about whale hunting but also about international children abduction. A big shame for the country that entitles itself as “the most correct and honorable country”.

When the International Whaling Commission (IWC) moratorium on commercial whaling went into effect in 1986 Japan continued to hunt whales and to eat whales using the scientific research provision in the agreement (the entire world know that it was a justification to continue the commerce for the "sushi" business). Then, since it was criticized for its behavior, Japan left the IWC in 2019.

Too easy to sign international agreements or to join international commissions, and then say “I will do as I want”.

10 ( +27 / -17 )

"We would like to provide fresh and delicious whales for everyone who is waiting," said Nobuyuki Ito, president of a whaling company in Ishinomaki.

That's a PR catastrophe in the making.

I would also be a hypocrite, for not admitting, having succumbed to the tender, succulent flavor.

Onomi/tail fin meat.

8 ( +20 / -12 )

No one has a right to judge.

Since judging is an ability and not a right, you’re incorrect.

7 ( +21 / -14 )

It's all good, until you learn that taxpayers is largely subsiding their industry. How do ordinary people who don't eat whale meat benefit from this?

5 ( +21 / -16 )

Putting food on the table is the role of every government.

Is that a joke? The government takes hard earned money away from barely surviving families in the form of consumption taxes, various income taxes, and many other taxes. Then they give that money to well-off geezer with a whaling ship and crew, and allow the previously taxed family who barely have enough to eat the whale for free? Not for free?

Sounds like they are taking food off the table, as almost every government does.

5 ( +18 / -13 )

Is that a joke? The government takes hard earned money away from barely surviving families in the form of consumption taxes, various income taxes, and many other taxes. Then they give that money to well-off geezer with a whaling ship and crew, and allow the previously taxed family who barely have enough to eat the whale for free? Not for free?

Nailed it.

Outside of the ethical issues, I don’t see how whaling is commercially viable. I’d be prepared to be corrected here.

4 ( +15 / -11 )

Fighto! Today  04:45 pm JST

Their country, their waters, their customs, their rules.

This is your standard retort when it comes to Japan and whaling

However, when it comes to another country’s practices (e.g. see your posts on China) you are very dismissive of their cultures.

Shouldn’t this comeback be true for any country and culture?

Or does this “Their country, their waters, their customs, their rules”* *only apply to Japan?

4 ( +17 / -13 )

Chasing a whale around the oceans till it's exhausted, shooting it with a harpoon that is likely to miss a vital spot and explode so that the the animal leaks blood and internal organs until it finally dies, is unnecessary, unpardonable and disgusting.

Well stated.

4 ( +16 / -12 )

*It looks better than it tastes

I taste exactly how I look

3 ( +6 / -3 )

"We would like to provide fresh and delicious whales for everyone who is waiting."

Well, Mr Ito, the fact is that in recent years Japanese people, on average, consume 30gms of whale meat per year. I would think that there are a few who do want to eat it whilst the vast majority don't. Fewer and fewer people are buying and eating whale.

I hear the old argument, what about Norway, Iceland ... Are their economies really dependent on the killing of whales? Wish they would cease, too.

The argument 'Well, we've always caught whales, holds no water at all'. The human race did many things in the past!

That vessel in the photo looks pretty new. I wonder where funds to buy that came from? There's a lot of money aimed at reviving the local economy washing around the Tohoku coffers. Maybe wrong, but could possibly be a government grant?

I've nothing against community fishermen setting out in their boats during the Edo Period to catch a small whale, or even perhaps when food was really short and whale bacon was thing. But the Japanese do not need to kill whales today.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Who's waiting for this? Whale meat was the only thing I ever saw judges on Iron Chef refuse to eat (it wasn't the secret ingredient). Many Japanese find it distasteful.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

What about whaling done by Norway, Iceland, Greenland, South Korea, Canada, United States and Russia?

It should all stop.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

I have no strong feelings about whaling either way, but Japan does make a bad habit of dubiously citing "tradition" when faced with new times that demand change. The world is filled up with people, and we need to examine the impact we have on it. This is not just a UN social development goal, but common sense. We only have the one planet to live on, and the resources we need to survive are not infinite.

Certainly, if tax revenue is used to subsidize this, it's unforgivable.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

This is a bloodstain on Japan's character.

Whales are not food, they are intelligent, feeling creatures.

It is impossible to kill a marine mammal humanely, and no whale, porpoise or dolphin deserves to be subjected to the cruelty and suffering of this kind of torture.

Leave the whales alone.

2 ( +26 / -24 )

Putting food on the table is the role of every government.

You’d have a point of the meat we’re going to feed people.

Today, it’s much less: People eat only about 40 grams a year per capita, about the size of a slice of ham.

https://www.pri.org/stories/2019-04-17/japan-few-people-eat-whale-meat-anymore-whaling-remains-popular%3famp

2 ( +14 / -12 )

I don't agree with whale hunting, but it is their country and their right to do so, just as it is for any other country to hunt and eat wild animals. No one has a right to judge.

With the hunting amount and areas largely limited, I find the current program more agreeable and suitable especially for striving locals whose whaling practice is becoming obsolete rather naturally. As Japan's whale meat market has also been shrinking, it will have to survive as a local diet and delicacy.

Previously it was called "scientific research" and extensive far beyond own territorial waters and EEZ. I thought it was not even the Japanese whaling tradition.

2 ( +11 / -9 )

Resume? Japan never stopped. Just called it “scientific research’ for about 10 years under the oversight of the IWC.

- “Japan resumed hunting for commercial purposes on July 2019, after formally leaving the IWC. As a member, Japan halted ‘commercial whaling’ in 1988 but continued ‘catching’ for ‘research purposes’ - criticized internationally as cover for ‘commercial whaling’.”

The meat was still processed in the same manner, delivered to school lunches and the finer portions ‘sold’ to restaurants. - “Commercial Whaling”.

2 ( +17 / -15 )

Whales are not food, they are intelligent, feeling creatures.

It is impossible to kill a marine mammal humanely, and no whale, porpoise or dolphin deserves to be subjected to the cruelty and suffering of this kind of torture.

What is human or not, which shall be eaten, can be culturally bound and biased. Many other animals feel pain when killed. Some plants are proven intelligent (no joke) . We homo sapiens can never escape from karma and sacrifice. I think all we can do for now is stay modest and grateful. Artificial meats may be solution in future.

2 ( +18 / -16 )

Eating/drinking habit diet must/will change.

Doctor insists so, alcohol, red meat, overdosing on favorite take way ramen, with serious pork belly overload.

This whale hunting, is barely half the picture.

Doc insists what you enjoy the most will eventually kill you.

As much as Cetaceans you covet the most.

The question is time.    

2 ( +13 / -11 )

I wonder if the whaling industry would survive if the government stopped financially supporting and purchasing whale meat so students can have a small chunk of it once year as part of their Japanese culture food class. I doubt it.

2 ( +16 / -14 )

I want to save the whale but I want to save myself first

2 ( +15 / -13 )

Brilliantly argued, great example. 

No it isn’t and no it’s not. It’s a straw man fallacy. Look it up.

None of us have the right to judge other nations by our own cultural standards.

But you have done so on previous occasions on this site. See my post above.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

What about whaling done by Norway, Iceland, Greenland, South Korea, Canada, United States and Russia?

Well, i'll tell you about it with numbers.

In 2017, 1380 whales caught in the world.

Canada : 1

South Korea : 2

USA : 58

Russia : 120

Greenland : 153

Norway : 432

Japan : 596 (including 333 killed in the Antarctica sanctuary)

https://news.cgtn.com/news/3d3d414e7a416a4e31457a6333566d54/share_p.html

Shame on you South Korea !

2 ( +5 / -3 )

For a country at the cutting edge of technology for so long, whaling on any scale just makes Japan look behind the times and primitive.

I do not agree with whaling in any form except by small native tribes who take only what they need to survive (four or five/year). Japan kills whales and very little gets eaten by human consumption. Using the surplus as pet food is not needed.

Japan will be cheered when it stops this practice for good.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Maria 'Bing' Velasquez ReidToday  02:54 am JST

People need to eat. I have seen and tried a can of whale - it’s like sardine. I try everything. It was cheap and affordable. Maybe it should have olive oil like bottled tuna.

It's just another source of food and industrial uses, like all animals and plants. Like my Native American ancestors, I believe that all living things are made by God for our nourishment and so that we can live. But it comes with a responsibility. Take only what you need, don't waste anything.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Sorry

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Wait a minute...

What about whaling done by Norway, Iceland, Greenland, South Korea, Canada, United States and Russia?

0 ( +6 / -6 )

"We would like to provide fresh and delicious whales for everyone who is waiting," said Nobuyuki Ito, president of a whaling company in Ishinomaki.

meanwhile the government is still pushing the ‘scientific research’ angle. Ouch, shooting yourself in the foot is bad but being shot in the foot by someone else has to be a blow for credibility.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Of all the animals in the world, Why would anyone wants to Torture, Kill, Eat, then Flush down the toilet this Gentle, Beautiful, Smart, and Sociable Sea marble?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Fighto! Today  04:45 pm JST*

Their country, their waters, their customs, their rules.

This is your standard retort when it comes to Japan and whaling

*However, when it comes to another country’s practices (e.g. see your posts on China) you are very dismissive of their cultures.*

*Shouldn’t this comeback be true for any country and culture? *

*Or does this “Their country, their waters, their customs, their rules**”* ****only**** apply to Japan?

Great question. 

I’m curious just how far people are willing to go when using culture as a reason. Is it as far as people go when using religion as a reason?

-1 ( +12 / -13 )

In point of fact, there are freezers full of whale meat across the nation. There is no need for more, as nobody wants it. If they did, there wouldn't be freezers full of it.

-1 ( +16 / -17 )

The meat must taste better than sushi?

I looks better than it tastes. Might be the mercury in it.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Do the hustleToday  04:33 pm JST

How wonderful for Japan. Not so wonderful for the whales though. What are they gonna do when the local shake populations become extinct?

They aren't going to go extinct. Japan considers whaling as part of their fisheries which means that they will be managed as a marine resource to ensure sufficient stocks.

-1 ( +14 / -15 )

The Minke whale is not endangered. There is no logical reason why it should be protected. "Its intelligent and looks after its young"

Other species of whale or any other animal facing extinction is different but the Minke? itadakimasu!

-1 ( +19 / -20 )

I can never look my Japan born kids in the eye and sadly tell them that it's true.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Fresh, lean whale sashimi dipped in soy sauce with a touch of grated ginger on top is one of my favorites.

Goes well with a slightly chilled daiginjo sake.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The main problem is the extinction of wild animal here.

Until we can breed whales artificially, we should stop hunting them.

The threat of extinction was a problem, until the IWC mostly stopped the rape of the oceans in the 1980s (Japan continued, of course). The bigger problem then and now is the infliction on individual animals of pain, fear and suffering.

Chasing a whale around the oceans till it's exhausted, shooting it with a harpoon that is likely to miss a vital spot and explode so that the the animal leaks blood and internal organs until it finally dies, is unnecessary, unpardonable and disgusting.

Whales are large mammals, they migrate long distances. Confining one in a tiny tank to force it to reproduce would also inflict indefensible harm on the animal, both physical and mental.

-3 ( +14 / -17 )

I wonder if eating whales is part of the Washoku that was registered as UNESCO cultural heritage.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Whale oil beef hooked!!!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Should be an episode of Cool Japan on NHK, eating whale!

Japanese really need a lesson on soft power.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

You can eat whale or just suck the mercury out of your old fashion thermometer, same thing. Whale meat is filled with mercury and probably micro plastic as well. But so delicious, what, it tastes like dried out rubber door stoppers.

-4 ( +13 / -17 )

Ban whaling!!

Full stop!!

-4 ( +15 / -19 )

Nothing wrong with them doing it within their own territorial waters.

-4 ( +18 / -22 )

Ah, the old mercury chestnut... A few sample found with levels of in whale meat. The anti whaling crowd thought they could use this to dissuade the few who actually still eat whale to stop. It didn't work. Again, there is a huge difference between not killing a variety of whale because it is facing extinction and not killing it because MY culture living halfway around the world, thinks its cute. The Minke is not in any danger.

-4 ( +18 / -22 )

""We would like to provide fresh and delicious whales for everyone who is waiting, even though last year's meat is rotting in freezers along with all of the science meat from years before. Well, we're waiting for out handouts, anyway. We hope the world will change their opinion and smile favorably on this ancient tradition of going out in diesel boats and firing explosive tipped harpoons at whales who have no chance to escape. It is honorable, and just, and the world should love us for it. If not, we don't need their approval (but if they agree with us we want it!), but we will push to feed them whale meat at the Olympics to PROVE that it is delicious and that the whales died for a good reason -- at high prices, of course!"

Anyway, they can always continue to force it down the throats of school children when no one buys it, or build new freezers for it to stockpile and rot in. And hey, they no longer need to pretend "Tastes better with soy sauce than mayo!" is science.

-4 ( +10 / -14 )

Any further regulation or outright banning of commercial whaling makes no sense.

You might as well ban go and ban the commercial meat industry as well.

I'm sure there are hordes of folks out there who take offense to the slaughter of cattle, hogs, chickens, you name it.

Complaints and protests directed at the Japanese commercial whaling industry is hypocritical.

IMO, it's just a form of "cultural imperialism".

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Come on Japan the year is 2021 if you didn’t realize...

-5 ( +12 / -17 )

People need to eat. I have seen and tried a can of whale - it’s like sardine. I try everything. It was cheap and affordable. Maybe it should have olive oil like bottled tuna.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Luckily whale meat in that area doesn’t have extremely dangerous levels of Mercury, Strontium, both types of Cesium, Americium, Plutonium, and nano plastics. Oh, actually it does.

just massacre them for fun, don’t eat.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Hmmmmm..... whale steaks on the BBQ. What kind of bbq sauce should I use?

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Ah, the old mercury chestnut...

A pretty toxic chestnut at that. High mercury & PCB levels in whale meat are reliably proven and acknowledged even by the people that consume them (Taiji, the Faroes), often in similar levels to those found in the victims of Minamata. Studies have found they may lead to neuroligical problems in kids when consumed by pregnant mothers.

A few sample found with levels of in whale meat.

Lots of samples found with very high levels, often without labelling to identify the species, sold freely or given away to schools for the kids to grudgingly eat.

I have no problem with sustainable whaling. I have a problem with kids' school lunches being used to offload potentially toxic meat in order to sustain and industry that cannot sustain itself.

-8 ( +7 / -15 )

How wonderful for Japan. Not so wonderful for the whales though. What are they gonna do when the local shake populations become extinct? They’ll never be allowed to return to the southern oceans for their senseless slaughter.

-9 ( +13 / -22 )

Their country, their waters, their customs, their rules.

Putting food on the table is the role of every government.

-21 ( +18 / -39 )

I don't agree with whale hunting, but it is their country and their right to do so, just as it is for any other country to hunt and eat wild animals. No one has a right to judge.

-26 ( +21 / -47 )

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