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Japan proposes end to commercial whaling ban

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By Sarah DiLorenzo

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Associated Press is wrong from the headline. There has never been a "ban" on commercial whaling. There is a "moratorium" which by definition is temporary. And that is how the moratorium was implemented in 1986.

5 ( +22 / -17 )

Commercial Whaling has been banned in Japan, it is not a moratoriu on its own, it is part of one. . And Japan's ludicrous insistence that there is a demand for whale meat consumption, is laughable!

6 ( +24 / -18 )

Sick that anyone would hunt and kill those magnificent beasts.

Shame on Japan and any other nation that does.

Besides, haven’t they saw Star Trek?

the end could be coming for us all !!

2 ( +20 / -18 )

It will never happen. the moratorium is going to be permanent.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Belrick and maybeperhapsyes

Spot on! Agree 100%

-8 ( +8 / -16 )

The japanese government could also give its subsidies to whale watching businesses, promote it, attract more tourist and actually turn a profit.

2 ( +14 / -12 )

Science is clear: there are certain species of whales whose population is healthy enough to be harvested sustainably,

Which science? No serious scientific study has ever showed that hunting again whales is something reasonable to do. They are twisting the reality here for the sake of their interests. Population of species which recovered from human massacring them are not somehow immune to again see a rapid decline. Actually this can be verified by the population of elephants which recovered after measures were taken to protect them in the 80s and 90s. After an intensification of illegal hunting and ivory traffic fueled by demand in Asia countries including Japan, the population of elephants has become dangerously law, in the span of one decade. So science and facts have instead proven that the populations of big mammals are extremely fragile. 

Science has proven another thing which is extremely important. It has shown that big mammals, in particularly whales here but it could be generalize to many species, are intelligent creatures. They have feelings (actually most vertebrate have), they communicate between themselves using a form of spoken languages, possess reasoning capabilities, etc. Killing in mass these animals is criminal. So if they want to talk about science, then they have to talk about real science, not the Japanese fantasy science fueled by the fishery lobbies.

Japan's proposal would also change how the international body operates, reflecting its frustration with an organization that it says has become "intolerant" and a "mere forum for confrontation.

What a hypocrite statement. This is Japan which is intolerant and is bringing confrontation by trying to protect its own vested interests which come largely from a group or people in the government and in some organizations that are trying to make money from whale hunting. The culture argument is totally BS. They want to make business. That's all.

1 ( +15 / -14 )

All countries used to do things that were wrong. They quit doing things that were wrong because they knew it was wrong. I'm sure if Japan did an "honest" poll it would overwhelmingly vote to stop killing whales. Because it's just wrong.

3 ( +17 / -14 )

Thank gods, finally! Japan should have gone for commercial whaling long time ago.

-8 ( +11 / -19 )

Japan has hunted whales for centuries as a traditionally cheaper alternative source of protein. Its catch has fallen in recent years in part due to declining domestic demand for whale meat and challenges to its hunt.

This statement is a twist of the truth. Japan has hunted whales *'l*ocally' for centuries and for subsistence. However, the extended commercial hunts to the southern oceans only started in post WW2 coz the country was starving, which is no longer the case.

While Japan argues that whale stocks have recovered sufficiently to allow for commercial hunting, conservationists contend whaling on the high seas has proven difficult to manage.

Japan has a long history of breeching fish catch quotas. Why should anyone believe whales would be any different?

Japan says that it uses both lethal and non-lethal methods, but that some information can only be gleaned after killing.

So, which one is it? Is it research or a cover for commercial whale hunting? On one hand they are pushing for a return to commercial whaling and on the other they are defending their lethal research. Japan is just full of poop! The only part of their research that needs to be lethal is analysing the stomach contents of the whales. However, this information can be obtained from a handful of whales. There is no need to kill 333 whales or previously a thousand whales every year just for this purpose. Populations of whales can be calculated by helicopter or plane. DNA samples can be obtained with a bow and arrow, not an exploding harpoon. They are just full of crap!

The whole Japanese proposal is full of twisted facts and mistruths in a pitiful attempt to try to sway the IWC to allow them to return to raping the sea. The funny part is, Japan actually believes the world will believe their crap and lift the ban on commercial whaling. That is hilarious!

3 ( +17 / -14 )

@socrateos - Thank gods, finally! Japan should have gone for commercial whaling long time ago.

Japan and many other countries did go for commercial whaling a long time ago, which resulted in the near extinction of whales. Here is a news flash for you pro-whalers: Japan will NEVER be allowed to hunt whales commercially. They should just shut up and continue using the loophole to get their few hundred whales every year.

-4 ( +10 / -14 )

The truth finally came out hunting whales wasn't for scientific reasons.

5 ( +16 / -11 )

It’s unfortunate that although the vast majority of people here don’t eat whale meat  the Japanese stubbornly wish to continue to keep the whale hunting tradition alive. The only reason I can see is that there is some level of pride in that it’s their “culture” or their right to do so. It seems more about not wanting to be told what to do and that banning whale hunting is a form of attacking their culture or traditions. The media here also seems to want to push this agenda.

4 ( +15 / -11 )

Another thorn in the side of Australia - Japan relations, just at a time when our relationships need to be solidified and strengthened. Maybe not between our politicians , but between the people. Is it really worth it guys? Really??

-9 ( +5 / -14 )

Let's face it, Japan's reasoning for whaling in modern times mainly consists of scientific and cultural claims to the practice. But these 'arguments' have been completely shot down again and again.

Culture? My western nation used to do as a vital part of food and culture, too. We stopped. Now we enjoy a healthy whale tourism industry.

Science? Other leading experts on the matter have commented innumerable times, on record, that it is not necessary to kill a beautiful, sentient animal every time. But Japan refuses to listen because of its agenda.

Japan (and weaboos, paid trolls etc), you have no leg to stand on. There is nothing you can do in your arguments except obfuscate the truth. Just give over for once. Japan gets away with so much. I hope the IWC really puts Japan in its place.

3 ( +15 / -12 )

National sovereignties. Isn’t this what’s causing all these world problems today? It’s not about people or right or protecting environments. Isn’t it about me, my country, my culture being more than yours? All culture is humankind’s patrimony. No national sovereign owns it or any part of it. This includes whales, etc.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Putting aside arguments on both sides about tradition, humane slaughter, and endangered status, why is eating whale meat even being considered in Japan? According to studies by their own researchers, whale/dolphin meat contains 25 to 900 times (depending on body part) above safe mercury and toxin levels. Those are safety limits defined by their own government.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

But....if they lift the ban on commercial whaling, won't that mean there will be fewer whales to catch for scientific research? Surely this is something Japan should care about deeply, given its extensive whaling research program.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@MrBum - Putting aside arguments on both sides about tradition, humane slaughter, and endangered status, why is eating whale meat even being considered in Japan? According to studies by their own researchers, whale/dolphin meat contains 25 to 900 times (depending on body part) above safe mercury and toxin levels. Those are safety limits defined by their own government.

This is only true for toothed whales and dolphins. It is not true for baleen whales. The meat from baleen whales like the minke is actually quite clean. However, the fact remains that, less than 1% of the Japanese population regularly consume whale and dolphin meat. This makes Japan's desire to return to commercial whaling a complete farce!

0 ( +6 / -6 )

many whale populations are still vulnerable

Japan acknowledges this and the moratorium (it still isn't a ban despite some media insisting on calling it one) also acknowledges that different species are different. Hence why Japan's proposal is for a limited number of specific species and why the moratorium was written to apply on a species by species basis.

Some, however, contend the research program remains a cover for commercial whaling because the whale meat is sold for food.

While others, having read the regulations, understand that those regulations require the whales caught for research to be processed to the extent practical.

Australia says that non-lethal research techniques actually reveal more information about whales than can be learned through killing them.

Meanwhile, the IWC's own Scientific Committee has stated that some data can only be obtained by lethal means.

The japanese government could also give its subsidies to whale watching businesses, promote it, attract more tourist and actually turn a profit.

First, that is a theory with no guarantee of profit. Second, doing so does not preclude commercial whaling.

Is it research or a cover for commercial whale hunting?

It is research to provide data to show that commercial whaling can be resumed with appropriate quotas.

The only part of their research that needs to be lethal is analysing the stomach contents of the whales.

Well that and the ear plugs which give age, and samples of various internal organs.

There is no need to kill 333 whales or previously a thousand whales every year just for this purpose.

Actually the well understood science of statistics says that based on the Minke population hundreds have to be sampled to achieve a reliable data set.

Here is a news flash for you pro-whalers: Japan will NEVER be allowed to hunt whales commercially.

Here is a news flash for you anti-whalers: Japan could quit the IWC and resume hunting whales commercially TOMORROW.

They don't have more or less rights that any other country which also agreed to join the whales preservation agreement.

The 'whales preservation agreement' states right in its charter that its purpose is to maintain whale stocks so as to ALLOW continued commercial exploitation of the whales.

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

The IWC could do the Japanese government a big favour here. If they proposed a quota of, say, 300 non-endangered whales a year (or a number based on current demand), and that the whaling industry must not receive financial government support.

Forced to fend for themselves, the whalers may possibly find their business untenable.

The main problem is that the whalers and Japanese government have proven themselves to be liars and would probably flout any guidelines.

Either way, whaling or eating whale meat isn’t going to get popular anytime soon so we only need wait a generation or so until the whole charade comes to an inevitable end.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

But....if they lift the ban on commercial whaling, won't that mean there will be fewer whales to catch for scientific research? Surely this is something Japan should care about deeply, given its extensive whaling research program.

But....whales caught commercially can still have samples taken for continued research, which is what was done before the moratorium. So Japan's extensive whaling research program could continue without any problem even if the moratorium on commercial whaling is lifted.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

@Disillusioned

Thanks for the clarification.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

99% of that 1% are kids who have whale force-fed to them in schools (another barbaric, 'cultural' act).

It's obvious that the real issue that we are dealing with here is the ego and stubbornness of some privileged, old men who have lived their lives in a bubble, and a national identity crisis where Japan wants to appear 'different' to the rest of the world.

I think people need to grow up when we're dealing with such big and impactful issues that potentially affect the entire world.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

But....whales caught commercially can still have samples taken for continued research, which is what was done before the moratorium. So Japan's extensive whaling research program could continue without any problem even if the moratorium on commercial whaling is lifted.

I was being sarcastic, but thank you for the explanation.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Because it's all about science, right? I mean, Japan's whaling for science, that's why they need the moratorium on whaling lifted for commercial purposes and to force it down the throats of unwanting school children after it ALREADY doesn't sell, right?

1 ( +9 / -8 )

First, that is a theory with no guarantee of profit.

Where is the profit in whaling ? It is a dying business that is kept alive by government subsidies.

Whale watching is a multi-billion dollar business that attracts millions of people every year already.

And it would help bring more tourists to Japan, as the government wants, and boost its image (just before the Olympics, another of government obsession).

Second, doing so does not preclude commercial whaling.

But bringing back commercial whaling is useless, as the already available meat can't be sold.

And with the other points above, it makes zero sense to continue protecting this business.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Dom PalmerToday 11:13 am JST

Here is a news flash for you anti-whalers: Japan could quit the IWC and resume hunting whales commercially TOMORROW.

That's like saying that because North Korea is not a UN signatory that they can freely test their nukes around the world TOMORROW.

Needless to say, doing so would NOT be beneficial for them...

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Shouldn't Nordic countries also ban whaling too? Why only Japan?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The 'whales preservation agreement' states right in its charter that its purpose is to maintain whale stocks so as to ALLOW continued commercial exploitation of the whales.

The preservation agreement did defined restricted rules (i.e. quotas) on any commercial exploitation of the whales which at that time were based on the current scientific knowledge about those animals. But it does not allow anything and particularly it completely banned hunting of certain species deemed fragile. Not only those restrictions are obsolete, that is there should be today a complete ban of whale hunting, but moreover Japan DOES NOT agree with the CURRENT rules and has been violating them since it signed the agreement by killing more whales than it is allowed to do. As I said (but the post was deleted by JapanToday!!!), Japan had and has the choice to stay away from the agreement as Iceland did.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Whaling takes place in international waters, and is thus an international issue. Personally, I don't have any major issue with whaling.

But we live in a global society and an increasingly small world, and I am dismayed to see Japanese hanging on to some fantasy vision of bygone Japanese culture. For the sake of your country, you need to engage with the world, not disengage.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Anti-whaling = racism?

I just can't....

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Let us allow this one to be subject to the laudably slow and archaic rate of change usually seen in Japan

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

The IWC could do the Japanese government a big favour here. If they proposed a quota of, say, 300 non-endangered whales a year (or a number based on current demand), and that the whaling industry must not receive financial government support.

Forced to fend for themselves, the whalers may possibly find their business untenable.

The main problem is that the whalers and Japanese government have proven themselves to be liars and would probably flout any guidelines.

Either way, whaling or eating whale meat isn’t going to get popular anytime soon so we only need wait a generation or so until the whole charade comes to an inevitable end.

You want to sacrifice 300 whales to prove a point? As I've said in previous discussions, in the 21st century there is no place for the mass slaughter of highly intelligent social animals. This is all about not being 'dictated to' by Western countries - nothing about whalemeat, subsistence whaling, protecting fish stocks or whatever... it's all down to national pride.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

And I concede that much of the anti-whaling brigade tends toward racism against Asians.

Bollox... Nordic countries aren't Asian and I'm just as much against them whaling as the Japanese... as I suspect are nearly all those of us against whaling.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

That people argue so much about a catch quota for a few thousand minke whales, suggests that far more productive things could be achieved if people would just accept it and move on.

It’s 2018 already, different strokes for different folks.

Its not like they are catching the last Blue Whale - there are more than 400,000 minke whales, catching 10,000 over 5 years would be fine. Let’s do that, spend the next five years focusing on global climate change, and come back to check on the other 390,000 odd minke whales in five years.

OK?

0 ( +7 / -7 )

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

I think people need to grow up when we're dealing with such big and impactful issues that potentially affect the entire world.

... are you talking about a little sustainable whaling?

We have big whales to fry methinks.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

You want to sacrifice 300 whales to prove a point? ..... it's all down to national pride.

I agree @Thunderbird, I really do. But there has to be another strategy, otherwise Japan may decide to leave the IWC. If that happens, they'll plunder the oceans until they're empty. Remember, these people actually believe that killing whales is good because whales eat fish and fish is sushi and sushi is nice.

My theory is that, if whalers are somehow compelled to operate without government support, then the declining demand for whale meat will soon force them out of business. The trick is somehow pander to their childish national pride whilst creating the conditions for the industry's natural decline into oblivion.

I admit though that I could be wrong though.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@Dom Palmer -

@Dom Palmer - Here is a news flash for you anti-whalers: Japan could quit the IWC and resume hunting whales commercially TOMORROW.

If Japan leaves the IWC tomorrow and commences commercial whaling in the southern ocean sanctuary, which they choose to ignore, they will be considered poachers and treated as such by the 40 odd countries that support the sanctuary.

Meanwhile, the IWC's own Scientific Committee has stated that some data can only be obtained by lethal means.

Yes, 'some' data. However, it is not data that needs to be collected every year by killing a thousand whales (now 333). This is the fault of the IWC. This clause that is being exploited by Japan should have stipulated how many whales could be killed for research purposes.

Actually the well understood science of statistics says that based on the Minke population hundreds have to be sampled to achieve a reliable data set.

Lethal research may very well be necessary. However, it is not necessary for hundreds (previously a thousand) whales to be killed every year to obtain the same data over and over again.

Well that and the ear plugs which give age, and samples of various internal organs.

Again, this data does not need to be collected every year by killing hundreds of whales. The age of the population of whales can be determined once and does not need to be carried out every year. Population growth can be measured by airplane or helicopter.

First, that is a theory with no guarantee of profit. Second, doing so does not preclude commercial whaling.

This reference to whale-watching is utter rhetoric! It has been proven by many countries who have multi-million dollar whale watching industries. However, Japan would struggle to create a whale watching industry due to the fact the local species of whales have already been hunted to near extinction.

If this is an example of what Japan intends to use as a defence to support its return to commercial whaling, they will get laughed out of the IWC. There is not one point about Japan's whale research that requires killing of hundreds of whales every year. I am fully aware their goal for this research is to prove there are stocks of whales that will sustain commercial whaling. However, Japan has killed over 30,000 whales since the IWC was created. The minke whale may very well be abundant (at present), but there is no evidence to prove it will sustain a commercial cull every year. In 30 years of BS research Japan has failed to prove this point and have not provided any information on how they intend to manage the stocks of minke whales. It's just a farce!

0 ( +5 / -5 )

If the stocks are sustainable then it makes sense. Commercial whaling in sustainable conditions is no different to hunting tuna or any other large scale fishing programme. If stocks fall back then the catch falls back? If regulated and overseen properly this could be beneficial.

"whale meat while not popular is a very good source of essential amino acids that determine the nutritional value of proteins, and in this respect it is as good as, if not better than, other animal meats. Though richer in protein, whale meat has fewer calories than beef or pork." - Taneko Suzuki

Professor, Nihon University

If this is considered and with the increase in hunger in the world whale meat would be a good solution to feeding the developing world. However I am sure there will be uproar to this suggestion, but  you cant ignore the possibilities that if the means to feed those that cant feed themselves exists should it be ignored. Just because it is not popular in Japan does not mean other markets don't exist, you just have to look!

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

minke whale may very well be abundant (at present), but there is no evidence to prove it will sustain a commercial cull every year. 

Aha! So you concede that either, Japan’s research is NOT commercial whaling in disguise, or that it is but has proven sustainable!

How many numbers do you think a commercial “cull” would be, anyway? How do you even define “commercial”?

Whether it is sustainable or not, is not dependent on what happens to those whales after they have been extracted from the population.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

"The Australian people have clearly made a decision that they don't believe that whaling is something that we should be undertaking in the 21st century," said Anne Ruston, Australia's assistant minister for international development and the Pacific, on the sidelines of Monday's meetings. "The argument that we put forward from Australia is that we don't want to see any whales killed, whether they're killed because (of) commercial whaling or whether it's so-called scientific whaling."

As an Australian I don't see how we have the right to tell the rest of the world what to do. Its an overreach. We can't police it globally anyway.

What we can and should do is patrol our territorial waters and the whale sanctuaries we have set up with the Australian navy. Any encroachment by Japanese or any other whaling vessels and its a warning first, then a firing shot first....then...

Japan killed 50 whales in Antarctic protected area

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/sep/04/japan-killed-50-whales-in-antarctic-protected-area-data-shows

It needs to be patrolled. Soon we will have Tritons to patrol in Antarctica.

Australia needs a third major naval base in the South. Adelaide makes a lot of sense or Tassie.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

If the stocks are sustainable then it makes sense. Commercial whaling in sustainable conditions is no different to hunting tuna or any other large scale fishing programme. If stocks fall back then the catch falls back? If regulated and overseen properly this could be beneficial.

Are you really comparing a sentient mammal... to a fish? Really??

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

A reason not to hunt and kill them? How about because they are extremely intelligent and aware creatures? They may not have two legs and two arms, but they are still very, very smart. We need to figure out how to make "first contact" with them, instead of figuring out how to kill them.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Where is the profit in whaling ?

I never said there was a profit, so why not address what I said instead of something I didn't say?

Whale watching is a multi-billion dollar business that attracts millions of people every year already.

Never said it wasn't. But that doesn't mean that government funded expansion will result in more business.

And it would help bring more tourists to Japan, as the government wants, and boost its image

And we are back to unproven theories stated as fact. Maybe the whale watching industry is already saturated and expansion will not bring more tourists or more profit.

But bringing back commercial whaling is useless, as the already available meat can't be sold.

> And with the other points above, it makes zero sense to continue protecting this business.

Then bringing it back wont matter. If it wont be profitable companies wont engage in it. And sorry but stating unproven theories and opinions as facts aren't points, they are inane hand-waving.

That's like saying that because North Korea is not a UN signatory that they can freely test their nukes around the world TOMORROW.

No, it isn't. The UN has made clear that there are issues on which it will intervene whether the country involved is a member or not. While the IWC has made clear that its regulations only apply to members. This was made clear when Canada left the IWC and continues to issue whaling permits. Haven't heard of a single resolution in the IWC about Canada's whaling permits or a significant protest about it by any NGOs.

and has been violating them since it signed the agreement by killing more whales than it is allowed to do.

Really? Care to share some proof?

as Iceland did

Iceland is a member of the IWC.

If Japan leaves the IWC tomorrow and commences commercial whaling in the southern ocean sanctuary, which they choose to ignore, they will be considered poachers and treated as such by the 40 odd countries that support the sanctuary.

No, they won't. They already kill whales there and by the IWC's own regulations the sanctuary does not apply to Japan. Also their own Scientific Committee has produced a report that says the sanctuary was established in violation of the IWC's own procedures.

Lethal research may very well be necessary. However, it is not necessary for hundreds (previously a thousand) whales to be killed every year to obtain the same data over and over again.

Yes, it is. The whale population, health, etc. changes over time. So data has to be collected year after year to track and detect those changes. Do countries take a census once and then stop or do they repeat the process on a regular basis?

However, Japan would struggle to create a whale watching industry due to the fact the local species of whales have already been hunted to near extinction.

Japan HAS a whale watching industry. And since they hunt around Antarctica it has no impact on local whale watching.

However, Japan has killed over 30,000 whales since the IWC was created.

The IWC was created in 1948. Since then Japan has killed hundreds of thousands of whales.

The minke whale may very well be abundant (at present), but there is no evidence to prove it will sustain a commercial cull every year. In 30 years of BS research Japan has failed to prove this point

But they have proved that point. For 30 years hundreds of Minkes have been culled and the population remains steady with no problem. So obviously a commercial quota of at least 300 has proven to be sustainable.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

1glenn - A reason not to hunt and kill them? How about because they are extremely intelligent and aware creatures? They may not have two legs and two arms, but they are still very, very smart. We need to figure out how to make "first contact" with them, instead of figuring out how to kill them.

This is not a valid point, unfortunately. There are many ‘intelligent’ animals hunted for food throughout the world.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Are you really comparing a sentient mammal... to a fish? Really??

Why not?

A reason not to hunt and kill them? How about because they are extremely intelligent and aware creatures

Why should extreme intelligence be a criteria for deciding whether one creature must be allowed to live while another creature can be killed? Half of all creatures, including humans, have below average intelligence. Do they have a lesser claim on life?

My western nation used to do as a vital part of food and culture, too. We stopped. Now we enjoy a healthy whale tourism industry.

But do you respect the right of other societies to determine their own preferences (within the limits of intl law) even if they arrive at a radically different conclusion than your own culture?

Personally I'm opposed to whaling for various pragmatic reasons.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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