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Japan under pressure over past hunting of endangered whales

24 Comments
By Kazuhiro Nogi

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© 2019 AFP

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Their country, their culture, their right to eat these animals. No one has a right to judge what other nations choose to eat.

-11 ( +19 / -30 )

Of course anyone does. They don't belong to Japan, some merely pass through their waters, the effect of their hunting is global. Humanity is one.

We are not talking about rabbits or mice here.

14 ( +26 / -12 )

"This matter should be considered closed," a member of the Japanese delegation said, a day before a global conference of all 183 countries that have signed the treaty kicks off in Geneva.

Only closed because you say so? You just dont want the light to keep shining on the ludicrous reasons you give for hunting these whales!

3 ( +19 / -16 )

Their country, their culture, their right to eat these animals. No one has a right to judge what other nations choose to eat.

Really now? Endangered species are fair game then because "some" countries want their meat, for whatever reasons?

5 ( +21 / -16 )

The sei whale meat if from 2018 and prior were taken during Scientific Whaling under permit in accordance with IWC Article V which states that the meat must be processed. So what CITIES is saying is in direct contradiction to the IWC regulations. If CITIES wants to claim that those North Pacific research whaling programs were "commercial" they can't just decide that on their own as they have no jurisdiction to make such a determination. They need to follow the example of Australia and litigate it at the ICJ as Australia did in 2014 to terminate the JARPA II Antarctic program. Otherwise, CITIES is simply saying to throw the meat away.

4 ( +16 / -12 )

but faced accusations of still violating a wildlife treaty by allowing commercialisation of meat from past catches.

That is just stupid. The whales are already dead, they don´t come back to life by destroying food. I hate fanatical activism.

1 ( +14 / -13 )

Interesting that Japan states this matter is closed, but they still have 25 Sei whales in their yearly quota knowing full well they are endangered. Japan left the IWC by choice and now have left themselves open to persecution by CITES. CITES is a much more powerful group than the IWC and their legal avenues reach much further. Japanese commercial whale hunting will always remain under scrutiny due to their previous underhanded tactics of all kinds of fishing. They have a long history of ignoring and exploiting tuna catch quotas and have fished many species to extinction in their local waters, the Japan Sea sardine being one. I’m glad to see CITES scrutinizing their whale hunting practices. This “Their culture, their right” argument is completely false and illogical. Japan is just one small island in a large world, which does not give them the right to hunt and kill any animal they please. There are international rules Japan must abide by or they will face sanctions, just the sane as any other country who breaks the rules.

-1 ( +11 / -12 )

"The standing committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) last October found Japan in breach of the treaty and ordered it to rectify the situation or face trade sanctions."

Good luck with that. The world economy is the middle of trade war and you are talking about sanctions on the 3rd largest economy and the world's banker? LOL

6 ( +16 / -10 )

Interesting that states this matter is closed, but they still have 25 Sei whales in their yearly quota knowing full well they are endangered.

Within coastal waters, hence not subject to CITES regulation.

5 ( +13 / -8 )

Japans tradition, Japans country, Japans right.

Japan has a right to hunt any whales in their own waters. C.I.T.E.S. should stop bullying Japan. Japan can legally hunt 25 Sei whales this hunting season, and no animal avtivists can stop this.

Sei whales are not endangered. Dr Seiji Ohsumi, former director of ICR:

"Sei whales are the second-most abundant species of whale in the western North Pacific, with an estimated population of over 28,000 animals. [It is] clearly not endangered."

-2 ( +13 / -15 )

It should be noted that the March 31st, 2014 decision by the International Court of Justice was limited to JARPA II and the SEI whales being taken in the North Pacific were taken under an entirely other program called JARPN, as stipulated on the Special Permit Catches page on the International Whaling Commission site.

It should also be noted that the International Court of Justice had actually concluded "that the JARPA II activities involving the lethal sampling of whales can broadly be characterized as “scientific research” (Paragraph 127, p.45) and that "that the evidence shows that, at least for some of the data sought by JARPA II researchers, non‑lethal methods are not feasible", a statement agreed upon by all parties, as stipulated in Paragraph 133, p.47 of the decision (All of the parties involved in that case had agreed "that non‑lethal methods are not a feasible means to examine internal organs and stomach contents").

That said, the purpose of sanctions is to force compliance and in this case Japan is no longer implementing special catch permit programs under the IWC and the byproducts of their JARPN program are dwindling, slowly being consumed into non-existence.

They passed on the opportunity to enact sanctions during both JARPN I and JARPN II and they passed on making the distribution of Fin whale meat from JARPA II an issue so what's the point of all of this? Are they trying to justify their existence and funding?

6 ( +11 / -5 )

While ant-whaling myself, it does seem unfair, whatever the terms of the ban, to criticize Japan for selling off residual products from the ceased sei whale catches.Why waste food?

9 ( +13 / -4 )

The standing committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) last October found Japan in breach of the treaty and ordered it to rectify the situation or face trade sanctions.

Be it the ECHR or this, once you create these international arbitrators/adjudicators, what do you do when they abuse or exceed their powers?

9 ( +12 / -3 )

"This matter should be considered closed," a member of the Japanese delegation said..." Interesting all the different contexts in which Japanese authorities invoke this to try to have the final word - all of them critical of Japan.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Instead, it found that the hunt was primarily commercially motivated, and thus constituted international trade in a protected species and a clear violation of the treaty.

Of course its commercially motivated, why do Japanese need to research whales anyway? If it was up to the Japanese and Chinese, every Tiger,Rhino, Tuna, Whale would be extinct.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Their country, their culture, their right to eat these animals. No one has a right to judge what other nations choose to eat.

wrong no country or culture has the right to hunt species that are threatened or endangered.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

It should also be noted that the International Court of Justice had actually concluded "that the JARPA II activities involving the lethal sampling of whales can broadly be characterized as “scientific research” (Paragraph 127, p.45) and that "that the evidence shows that, at least for some of the data sought by JARPA II researchers, non‑lethal methods are not feasible", a statement agreed upon by all parties, as stipulated in Paragraph 133, p.47 of the decision (All of the parties involved in that case had agreed "that non‑lethal methods are not a feasible means to examine internal organs and stomach contents").

This is just selective cherry picking of quotes which were not determinative of the case, the ICJ explicitly held that JARPA 2 was not for the purpose of scientific research and thus a violation of the treaty.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

The problem is with the definition of "scientific".

The ICR defines "scientific" within the context of enabling the slaughter of the species in order to eat them, not doing scientific research as the westerns would understand it, eg monitoring species, investigating its biology etc.

It is all about serving the highly subsidized commercial industry, not doing science.

There are sufficient "road kill" whales, as in those killed in collisions with ships and nets in order to do real science.

If anything the ICR is more of an offence to the name of science than it is to animal welfare.

Likewise, you can't compare the killing of whales with the killing of small mammals as there is basically no way to do it humanely.

Japan should be investing its millions in lab grown (whale) meat now this appalling wasteful industry (the economics of whaling really only start to work out when including whale oils and so on that have now been superceded by synthetics.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Ganbare Japan! - Japans tradition, Japans country, Japans right.

Japan has a right to hunt any whales in their own waters. C.I.T.E.S. should stop bullying Japan

Wrong again! Japan has the right to hunt non-endangered whales in their own waters. Japan also has a responsibility to the rest of the world to respect and protect endangered species. CITES is not bullying Japan at all. They are exercising their rights of enforcing international law on endangered species. It is Japan being the bully by ignoring international laws on hunting endangered species. Japan is only one small island on a big planet and contrary to Japanese psych, Japan is not the center of the Earth.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

It also has one of the worst records of any developed nation when it comes to animal welfare full stop. It is, in a word, backwards in this area. The ICR having a throwback mentality.

Was it here or else where similar discussions were being had over the ivory that conservative elements prefer to use for their inkan, and turn a blind eye to how and where it came from?

They're being slow to do anything about that.

Look into animal breeding and ownership, and the importation and selling of exotic or endangered species, and a similar vein quickly arises, nevermind exploring their animal experimentation (vivisection) where it is still back in the dark ages.

The whales are just the tip of the iceberg and emblematic of far bigger problem.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

All nations, all people need to become responsible for their actions. Humans pinpoint species to destroy, ostensibly for human benefit, however it breaks a perfect chain in nature causing imbalance. Humans are increasingly seeing the effects of this approach today. Do we sit by and watch fish, stocks reduced 95% fall to zero, watch the Amazon, lungs of the world reduced to the tipping point where desertification happens, do we sit and watch Japan drive a species extinct, in this case for very little if any perceived benefit? No. Responsible nations are going to need to take more control of the stewardship of the planet, or frankly the human race is gone.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Here we go again: Japan found guilty of breaking the rules and whining when caught. Under the rules the Japanese must destroy their illegal stock of sei whale meat, just as ivory and rhino horn is destroyed when found. Instead, the Japanese will probably withdraw from CITES in a sulk.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

The hunting of whales endangered or otherwise is unacceptable for many reasons. Aside for the fact that it is barbaric, cruel and unnecessary, the health of the oceans depend upon them. Japan’s intransigence in relation to this matter is baffling and unconscionable.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

There can be no justification whatsoever to hunt for whales whether they are endangered or not.

The Japanese government needs to cease these activities immediately.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

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