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Japan whale hunt killed 122 pregnant minkes

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But consumption has declined significantly in recent decades, with much of the population saying they rarely or never eat whale meat.

Right! And the ONLY reason this slaughter continues is because of the fishing collective and government creating an image that their "culture" is being attacked!

No one, not even the Japanese, want to eat whale meat! As noted, it was eaten when there was nothing else around, and even to the elderly that I know who DID at one time eat it, say it reminds them of when they were poor!

The Japanese people themselves need to be made aware of this slaughter, but sadly the mainstream press does not discuss this issue, nor media either!

That is a crime as well! As they are complicit by their silence!

13 ( +36 / -23 )

Minkes are not endangered.

8 ( +26 / -18 )

I can't think of anybody in Japan who eats whale meat and I've been living here for quite a while. I hear Japanese talk about eating it many years ago but not anymore.

Who the heck in Japan is buying and eating it?

6 ( +24 / -18 )

Who the heck in Japan is buying and eating it?

Evidently not much of it is actually sold or eaten. But there are some "inaka" towns and cities that have put it on the menu of school lunches in an attempt to have the students "understand" the food history/culture of Japan.

The rest is frozen, and some canned.

Yet the leaders of those very same communities dont touch the meat themselves, out of health concerns!

(There were a number of articles about this here on JT in the past. )

3 ( +19 / -16 )

But Tokyo exploits a loophole allowing whales to be killed for "scientific research" and claims it is trying to prove the population is large enough to sustain a return to commercial hunting.

So the killing is to prove that it's ok to kill them?

It makes no secret of the fact that whale meat ends up on dinner tables.

In the trash, mostly. Lots of it remains uneaten and discarded.

0 ( +19 / -19 )

Another symptom of aging Japan? I dont know anyone under 60 who likes whale.

Still upholding their reputation as butchers of the sea

-1 ( +18 / -19 )

Japan whale hunt killed 122 pregnant minkes

Its not enough that they're killing whales-now they are killing the pregnant ones too?

Disgusting.

But I don't actually blame Japan. I blame the international community for not taking this seriously enough. That includes Australia and NZ. There have been no repercussions to Japan continueing this barbaric practice. OZ and NZ even let the TPP go through without addressing this issue.

-3 ( +15 / -18 )

disgusting

-2 ( +16 / -18 )

Explain to me how killing pregnant whales is supposed to help study SUSTAINABLE whaling ?

Also "くじら食べたいなぁ~” is something I never heard in more than 10 years in Japan.

2 ( +20 / -18 )

The Japanese government and Japanese institutions collectively spend billions of yen each year on burnishing the country's image with PR and a variety of propaganda, then destroys every ounce of goodwill created with this pointless slaughter.

It's sad for the whales but it's equally sad that those responsible simply cannot see how this barbarity tarnishes the country's image around the world.

1 ( +17 / -16 )

I can't think of anybody in Japan who eats whale meat

I am eating whale meat everytime I can get it. I even enjoy the taste. There, now you know someone doing it.

1 ( +26 / -25 )

As if killing these creatures wasn't enough, these 'researchers' had to ensure that fewer babies are born. As if Japan single-handedly depleting tuna stocks in the world wasn't enough either.

-2 ( +16 / -18 )

But consumption has declined significantly in recent decades, with much of the population saying they rarely or never eat whale meat.

But production has declined significantly in recent decades, with the introduction of a moratorium on commercial whaling.

Seriously. It’s hard to find whale unless you know where to look, unlike other types of seafood.

Lift the commercial whaling moratorium already - it’s 2018!!

1 ( +14 / -13 )

I eat whale meat also whenever I can get my hands on it, dolphin too while I am out in western Japan. I enjoy it every time, hell, I think just for the sake of this article, I will head out and get some tonight. Cheers! :D

1 ( +21 / -20 )

The rest is frozen, and some canned.

Why on earth would someone pay to do that.

Why would the Icelanders be sensing their produce to Japan either.

Hmm. Who is putting their money where their (the) mouth is?

0 ( +8 / -8 )

This pregnant females thing is part of the research. Their data can be used to model the population dynamics.

If the whales weren’t pregnant, THEN we should be worried.

I bet you data on pregnancy was collected in the commercial whaling days too.

5 ( +17 / -12 )

That’s 333 whales plus another 122 unborn whales, which brings the total to 455 whales killed. This southern ocean whale hunt is not culture nor is it research. It is business, plain and simple! However, it is a failing business that costs Japanese tax payers billions of yen every year. Most of the meat from these whales ends up stored in freezers around the country because they can’t even give the stuff away better less sell it for a profit. There is not a large enough market for the meat to support a return to commercial whaling. When whaling was at its international peak the whales were killed mostly for their oil to burn and to make cosmetics, which made it a lucrative business until the whales were nearly wiped out, of course. Japn’s southern Ocean whale hunt is a sham that costs Japan too much money to make it viable and it should be stopped.

0 ( +17 / -17 )

I am eating whale meat everytime I can get it. I even enjoy the taste. There, now you know someone doing it.

Make the most of it ebisen. Something tells me that you won't be eating Whaleeat for much longer.

-12 ( +7 / -19 )

I can't think of anybody in Japan who eats whale meat and I've been living here for quite a while. I hear Japanese talk about eating it many years ago but not anymore.

Who the heck in Japan is buying and eating it?

You should go to Nagasaki or Hokkaido where whalemeat is a common dish. Personally im not sure why people eat it, it tastes disgusting.

Also, can Japan please explain WHAT scientific research is being done, show some evidence otherwise the hunt should be banned.

-6 ( +9 / -15 )

I can understand both sides of the story. Whaling has been around for centuries. So yes, it is a part of the "culture". However, I've been living in Japan for over 30 years and I have never heard anyone say "Hey! Let's go eat some whale!" Eating whale is more common in the whaling ports but not much anywhere else. Sort of like eating horse meat in Kumamoto. That said, I think whaling should be legalized. Meaning that the government support must stop. The way I see it, if it were 100 percent commercialized, then the whaling ships would have to pay for their own 4-month expeditions. There is no way in the world that it would be profitable at the current price/demand for whale meat. The industry is surviving only because of the government's support. Whalers would eventually decrease and the centuries old "tradition" will die.

-4 ( +9 / -13 )

They use it for pet food and fertilizer.

This whole issue and debate is just so futile.  Waste of resources, killing for no good reason, scientific research is never published, lots of mock outrage about culture and tradition and all.  Ridiculous.

-6 ( +10 / -16 )

I am eating whale meat everytime I can get it. I even enjoy the taste. There, now you know someone doing it.

Bet you glow in the dark too! But can you eat the meat of over 100 whales? I doubt it!

-7 ( +7 / -14 )

I am eating whale meat everytime I can get it. I even enjoy the taste. There, now you know someone doing it.

Tastes crap compared to other meat.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

fxgai:

This pregnant females thing is part of the research. Their data can be used to model the population dynamics.

Of course it is. Of course it is. I guess the Australian researchers' methods (which don't involve killing) are totally wrong.

-3 ( +11 / -14 )

So does that count as one and a half for each whaled killed? Another ¥800 million of government subsidies for an industry employing less than 1,000 workers.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

Just barbaric and disgusting. alfie Noakes your comments are spot on

-9 ( +8 / -17 )

It is business, plain and simple! However, it is a failing business 

If it's a failing business, then cut to the chase and let's let Japan catch whales again officially on a commercial basis, and THEN we can get to a point where the business can be operated on its own merits, rather than with tax payer support.

That is, just like the Icelandic commercial whaling operation that is shipping whale produce to Japan (a failing business that is costing them, if you wish to believe that. What daft Icelanders they must be... don't they know Japanese people don't eat their whale produce? Don't they realize they are losing money? What would they possibly know?)

can Japan please explain WHAT scientific research is being done

They have, that's where the data showing the number of pregnant whales out of the sample of 333 came from. You can get the report if you want it.

I think whaling should be legalized. Meaning that the government support must stop.

I'd like government support to stop for many things, but the government of Japan likes to run stuff, even though it shouldn't. 

First issue is, Japanese businesses should be able to catch whales, on the proviso that it is done sustainably. (Monitoring how many pregnant whales there are in a sample each year could conceivably help inform such a determination, as could many other types of info.)

Second issue is, privatization of a range of operations that Japan's government has its fingers in, of which research whaling is just one.

To be honest, I'd ideally expect the government to retain some kind of role in the oversight of whaling. This could however be funded through license fees, rather than tax payer funds. In Japan's case, corruption and collusion has proven to be an issue however, so this is something that ought to be examined carefully. Perhaps the IWC itself should fund the oversight of whaling through its membership fees.

Of course it is. Of course it is. I guess the Australian researchers' methods (which don't involve killing) are totally wrong.

You can guess that if you like, but you seem skeptical of the Japanese research, which is the topipc. I'm not sure why anyone would assume that no useful data can be obtained from biological samples of certain types of animal, like whales. 

Unless the assumption is just a front for a cultural aversion to the idea of whales being another type of food source for humans.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

 That said, I think whaling should be legalized. Meaning that the government support must stop.

Frank Thornton - unfortunately the second sentence would definitely not follow from the first one in Japan.

The Japanese government have always been willing to support favoured industries (which is not necessarily always a bad thing), and whaling is a particularly favoured industry because it allows the nationalistic government to thumb their noses at other countries.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

If it's so scientific, why are they eating their subjects? 

Perform a little "Research" on these researchers. How quickly can they get their lifeboats in the water?

I love sushi. I've been eating it for over 50 years. And, I love the Japanese culture, but I simply can't condone this killing of a species for "research" purposes, when we all know it's for food.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

The scientists doing the research must be unbelievably hopeless if so many whales need to be slaughtered each year!

Still, my local supermarket is always full of reduced whale meat that nobody seems to want so......

0 ( +8 / -8 )

The pregnant whales were obviously not targeted because they are pregnant and just a side fact to induce the expected emotional response. It works, but by effect only really serves to embolden those who believe wholeheartedly that whale hunting is their culture. And heritage. Polarizing people isn’t the best way to bring about resolve as we’ve seen in so many other examples around the world. It’s a battle of wills and emotion and if we continue like this no one is willing ( or able! ) to budge. Unsolveable.

Personally I would like to see Japan take it’s ever declining international brand and image more seriously, and reconsider how potent soft power can be, but talking down at them only serves to push them further away and back to inward tribal thinking.

Mottainai. Ask yourself this, how often do you like to be TOLD what’s right?

10 ( +13 / -3 )

If it's so scientific, why are they eating their subjects? 

Because their research pertains to the sustainable use of a natural resource, as food.

It would be insane if they weren’t to eat the whales caught, just because they were caught as samples for scientific research. In what kind of world would that be permissible.

(Here I assume that it is agreed that the whales are indeed being eaten, which seems to be a point of contention for some.)

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I love sushi. I've been eating it for over 50 years.

For any significant species that you happily eat in your sushi, I would imagine the Japanese fishieries ministry produces scientific research pertaining to the sustainable use of those, too. Try it. Even here at JT we read from time to time about tuna management by international organizations. Those orgs are presented with scientific research too.

Its not just whales that are researched.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

I have eaten whale in the past, here, Norway and Iceland. I loved it but always felt guilty. I don't eat it anymore and hope the practice of whale slaughter is brought to an end. Whatever else you may think it is, calling it scientific reserach is an insult to scientists and mocks peoples intelligence.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Minkes are not endangered. keep killing pregnant females and they certainly will, If the day comes that the moratorium on whaling is overturned itll be open season on the whales, do you think China, Korea, Taiwan will allow Japan to hunt whales exclusively! LOL itll be a free for all on how much money they can make from the pet food they produce. I mean they cant even agree on quotas on fishing resources in the oceans they share now, how do you think they'll do it half a world away in Antarctica!

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Whale meat and whale "research" and the government circus around it are old news.

One part of the never-ending problem is public attitude. Most Japanese on the whole probably won't see it like a Western person from an animal welfare point of view--in many countries, animals are not categorized "ok for food" and "not ok for food" based on the animal's appearance, intelligence, or history as a pet in other countries. Even if they don't personally eat whale meat, many Japanese probably don't see much of a moral difference in killing a cow for food vs. killing a whale. The opposition to whaling from Western countries is often based on concepts like: animals feel pain and should be handled as humanely as possible; irresponsible consumption should be stopped; no animals should be consumed at all for moral reasons. These are not prominent concepts in mainstream society. Just ask an average Japanese person on the street how much they know about the depletion of tuna and whether that influences their choices at the sushi bar.

To get the public against whaling, the story has to be spun as an economic, social, or human health problem, because an animal welfare or even an environmental conservation message is not having a strong enough impact.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Their country, their culture, their right.

No one here would like Japanese to criticize how other nations conduct their business.

The only thing I don't agree with is killing pregnant whales, but all else is fair game to me.

-12 ( +3 / -15 )

Like Yabaru started the comments off with, the only time the older people I know who have eaten it, was when they were in post war recovering time in Okinawa, where food of most sources was in short supply.

I wonder how stupid these researchers actually are if, year after year they still need to keep "researching" the whales in such a manner.

Also appears this thread has struck a nerve with some group, it appears almost every anti-whaling comment, or how the whole "research" is stupid is getting a large number of down votes.. Considering the normal daily votes on comments it more than a bit suspicious some group is actively attacking the votes.

1 ( +10 / -9 )

I can't think of anybody in Japan who eats whale meat and I've been living here for quite a while. I hear Japanese talk about eating it many years ago but not anymore.

Who the heck in Japan is buying and eating it?

My nephews have it in their school lunches from time to time. Seriously.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Give it a break.

If you want to talk about killing, then quit eating eggs. All those salmon eggs....oh my god. All those potential babies.

I do enjoy whale blubber and bacon, but the steak is too gamey for me.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

So basically when they hunt and slaughter a whale they can't tell tell if it's a pregnant whale until after the kill and split its guts open.

Regardless of whaling I oppose all commercial activities in the Antarctic.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Their country, their culture, their right.

Then do it in Japanese waters.

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

@fxgai - If it's a failing business, then cut to the chase and let's let Japan catch whales again officially on a commercial basis, and THEN we can get to a point where the business can be operated on its own merits, rather than with tax payer support.

Wow! Some people are just plain dumb! If they cannot sustain it as a viable business with catching a few hundred whales, how can they sustain it as a lucrative business if they catch a few thousand whales?

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

Wow! Some people are just plain dumb!

Agree with your statement, itself.

If they cannot sustain it as a viable business with catching a few hundred whales, how can they sustain it as a lucrative business if they catch a few thousand whales?

Are you are business person?

2 ( +7 / -5 )

You should go to Nagasaki or Hokkaido where whalemeat is a common dish. 

I've lived in Hokkaido for 20+ years and it's not a common dish here, although you'll occasionally see it on a menu or in the supermarket (usually marked down to clear it out).

6 ( +9 / -3 )

what kind of "research" requres dead, pregnant specimens? sounds like James Marion Sims.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

There are more than ten prefectures which eat little or no whale meat so not something eaten eaten by "all" Japanese and according to polls the consumption rate is less than 20 gms per adult per year.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Minkes are not endangered.

Oh, so that makes it okay? You really don't get it do you?

It doesn't matter if they're common or rare - they shouldn't be killed at all. Whales should be left alone... east, west, north and south... I don't care who hunts them, I just want all cetaceans to be left alone to live in peace.

-1 ( +10 / -11 )

It's not durable to do this as far as i know, the same with swordfish.

Some to feed like the old days, has become too many to feed the economy/luxury.

It is the responsibility of the governing bodies to see that.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Whale meat is very tasty my gaijin friends! it should also be served in the Olympics.

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

I don't care who hunts them, I just want all cetaceans to be left alone to live in peace.

OK.

That resolves everything then, thanks for passing down your determination, oh Great One.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Their country, their culture, their right. there is no culture in hunting whales in huge factory ships half a world away outside of your own territorial waters. Its nobodies right to take the oceans resources exclusively. If this was the case then its China, Korea Taiwans right to takes fish resources from Japan waters when they see fit, after all its there culture and right also.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

wtfjapan

Are you suggesting that Japan is taking whales from some other country's EEZ?

3 ( +9 / -6 )

That said, I think whaling should be legalized. Meaning that the government support must stop.

Really? I WISH this was true. Look at the other agriculture areas that are totally legal and privatized yet receive subsidies out the butt, which consumers end up paying through the nose for products that should cost less than 1/10 of what is normally charged. (Rice)

To name one of many!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Alyrustom,

I agree oz and nz should be mch more vocal on this, but you dont blame japan at all?

That I dont get.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

There is a whale flesh restaurant in Asakusa. It has been there for quite a while so it must be doing ok. If nobody eats whale anymore what might the customers therein be tucking into?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Oooops - This is not about nationalistic pride.

Simply about a dated practice that's time has come. Just let the custom(?) die a natural death and put time, money and energies into re-vitalizing primary industries critical for the countries future.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

The media and the broken hearts out there will always pick up on the pregnancy issue, but I wonder how many of those getting upset about it have ever eaten caviar or fish roe!

0 ( +5 / -5 )

I wonder how many of those getting upset about it have ever eaten caviar or fish roe!

You can't tell the difference between unfertilised eggs and a developing foetus?

The problem with caviar and fish roe is not the fact that they are eggs, but the fact that the fish gets killed to get at the eggs.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

cleoToday 01:51 am JST

The problem with caviar and fish roe is not the fact that they are eggs, but the fact that the fish gets killed to get at the eggs.

Where is the problem? Wild sturgeon are eaten after taking the roe. Farmed sturgeon have the roe removed and are stitched up to produce more roe. The "tarako" and "mentaiko" of Fukuoka come from Alaskan Pollack caught by US and Canadian fisheries. The roe is packed as is and the meat is used for "kamaboko" and similar fish products.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Some posters seem to believe that finding whale meat is difficult;it isn’t!

selling whale meat in Japan is a commercial business....

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Alyrustom,

I agree oz and nz should be mch more vocal on this, but you dont blame japan at all?

That I dont get.

I'm sorry. I guess you misunderstood me. Of course I blame Japan. They are the ones committing this barbaric act. I certainly don't give them a free ride. Add to that the fact that they are using money for Tohuku victim relief to fund this disgusting practice.

But my question is why haven't OZ and NZ stood up and said "We are going to exit the TPP in protest to this slaughter?" If they did THAT believe me, Japan would come to the table real quick to negociate a settlement. Japan REALLY wants and needs the TPP. The US has already exited with Abe begging Trump to come back and join. If OZ and NZ also leave the agreement I'm pretty sure it would be dead in the water. This is a card that OZ and NZ could play and it would work, believe me.

Instead, they are perfectly willing to allow this barbaric practice to go on as they sign FTAs with Japan. Its immoral

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Where is the problem? Wild sturgeon are eaten

Not by me, they're not.

But you miss the point. joyriding was equating the eating of unfertilised eggs with the killing of mammal foetuses. Many (most) vegetarians who happily consume bird eggs draw the line at fish eggs because fish eggs involve the killing of the parent fish, even if the eggs themselves are no more viable than an unfertilised hen's egg. Knowing that the parent gets turned into kamaboko doesn't make its eggs any more attractive to a vegetarian.

As for the 'But it's our national culture' argument - fine, then indulge in your national culture in your national waters. See how many minke you can catch in Tokyo Bay.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

As for the 'But it's our national culture' argument - fine, then indulge in your national culture in your national waters. See how many minke you can catch in Tokyo Bay.

Exactly. Excellent point.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

cleoToday 08:10 am JST

Where is the problem? Wild sturgeon are eaten

Not by me, they're not.

Fine. But I'll go with the other 99.9% of humans on this planet. I don't see a problem.

But you miss the point. joyriding was equating the eating of unfertilised eggs with the killing of mammal foetuses. Many (most) vegetarians who happily consume bird eggs draw the line at fish eggs because fish eggs involve the killing of the parent fish, even if the eggs themselves are no more viable than an unfertilised hen's egg. Knowing that the parent gets turned into kamaboko doesn't make its eggs any more attractive to a vegetarian.

Again, I couldn't care less so I don't see much difference. But I respect the right of all people to have their own beliefs. No matter how inane.

As for the 'But it's our national culture' argument - fine, then indulge in your national culture in your national waters. See how many minke you can catch in Tokyo Bay.

LOL.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Catching whales and eating whale meat is one thing - but is necessary to catch so many that are pregnant? I think we can do better than that. We need to take just what we need, not drive a species to extinction.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

We need to take just what we need, not drive a species to extinction.

Unfortunately 'tradition' demands that we at least try to do so. Apparently, traditions cannot be updated, altered, abandoned or even questioned. It is absolutely necessary that Japan continues to slaughter whales in order to find out how many whales can be slaughtered. The resulting by-product of thousands of tonnes of unwanted whale meat is merely an inconvenience, and none of anyone's business.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

“The only thing I don't agree with is killing pregnant whales, but all else is fair game to me.”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think it’s possible to determine if a whale is pregnant in the course of the hunt and catching, is it? They don’t fly “baby on board” flags. So if you want to avoid the pregnant ones you’d have to stop killing whales period.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

As a Japanese citizen and taxpayer I consider Japanese whaling idiotic and a colossal waste of money.

Norway kills many more whales than Japan does and many of them are pregnant.

https://www.thelocal.no/20170309/activists-fury-over-norway-hunt-of-pregnant-whales

I have looked at scores of articles on Japan and the pregnant whale kill. Not one has mentioned that the Norwegian kill is far larger than that of Japan and that the pregnant whale kill by Norway is also very large.

This difference in coverage makes it look very much like white people get a free pass on this issue.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This story broke over a week ago in major media markets overseas. Is Japan trying to bury it?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Good on JT for highlighting the horrors of the whaling industry. Keep it up!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Evidently not much of it is actually sold or eaten. But there are some "inaka" towns and cities that have put it on the menu of school lunches in an attempt to have the students "understand" the food history/culture of Japan. (comment by Yubaru)

While I don't disagree with you per se, I do know that whale meat was going to be served as a (mandatory) school lunch for primary school kids sometime around 2010/2011. No, I didn't have to eat it as I was luckily transferring to another public school in another prefecture. The thing is, this was at Yokohama... Not exactly 'inaka' is it? (If you don't get it, search for the population of Japanese cities - you'll see what I mean.) Though I would say that the decision is inaka-ish in mentality.

Now I'm back in Yokohama and they are sold at almost every supermarket 'round here. I only know of two exceptions and one of them is Costco. I have never seen people actually buying them.

The Japanese people themselves need to be made aware of this slaughter, but sadly the mainstream press does not discuss this issue, nor media either!

That is a crime as well! As they are complicit by their silence! (also by Yubaru)

The last time I looked at whaling-related news on one of the mainstream Japanese media aka Y!Japan, the comments that were shown prominently were all pro-whaling. Pages and pages of them. Huh - I'm not sure whether this is really the general Japanese consensus or not. Peer pressure perhaps? I spent a good chunk of my life in Southeast Asia and Oceania, so I'm not exactly Japanese culturally...

someone who was too freaked out by big chunks of dolphin meat being sold at a market in Okinawa
2 ( +2 / -0 )

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