Japanese lawmakers on Wednesday demanded the government redesign its "research" whaling program to circumvent an international court ruling that described the program as a commercial hunt dressed up as science.
The 40-strong fisheries committee, made up of a cross-section of members of the lower house, unanimously passed a resolution urging the administration study "all sorts of options, including walking out of the (international whaling) convention".
It said the ruling earlier this month by the International Court of Justice was "truly regrettable" but "does not necessarily prevent Japan's whaling, which is a unique tradition and culture".
The panel demanded the government find a way to continue the research operation "so as to play a responsible role as the only country in the world with a scientific approach".
The parliamentarians also demanded the government swiftly draw up a plan to replace the banned Antarctic whaling operation and fully prepare for a new program while circulating "whale meat -- a by-product of research whaling -- appropriately as before".
Although it is a signatory to the International Whaling Convention (IWC), which bans the commercial hunting of the mammals, Japan has used a loophole that allows for "lethal research".
It said it was perfectly proper for people to consume the meat that was the inevitable by-product of the killing.
Environmentalists have maintained the science is a ruse. Australia hauled Japan before the ICJ in The Hague over its program.
Judges there ruled 12-4 in Canberra's favor and Tokyo said it was calling the 2014-15 hunt off.
But legal papers submitted in the United States reportedly showed the Institute for Cetacean Research, the body in Japan that carries out the whaling program, intends to return to the Southern Ocean the following year with a redesigned scheme.
Japan on Monday insisted it had made no decision on whether to resume its Antarctic whaling.
Tokyo is also studying whether it should go ahead with another research whaling program in the northwestern Pacific, to which the fleet was originally scheduled to sail later this month.
This hunt, which is not affected by the court ruling, operates two excursions a year, in coastal waters and offshore, from early summer through autumn.
Amid the deliberation, the whaling industry invited lawmakers to an annual buffet of all manner of whale meat on Tuesday, including sashimi.
Takashi Tanuma, a member of the Japan Restoration Party, tweeted from there: "(The whaling industry) argue the international ruling only applies to the Southern Ocean program, but the government may expand it to operations in other regions, which must not be accepted."© (c) 2014 AFP
Login to comment
Did they really say that? If so, it's easy to see that they are old, ignorant oyaji, out of touch with today and they should be opposed.
There's nothing traditional or cultural about modern whaling techniques.
Just give it up already Japan. Let's evolve our thinking people.
Translated into mother wit, "we've got our head up our arse"
Quick calendar check, oh its not 1954. Time to move on.
Wow. Pretty unprofessional journalism, here, so much for unbiased reporting.
Also, once again, no "circumventing" needs to occur, the ruling only applied to the current expedition.
Shameless self-interested money grabbing bare-faced hypocrites. What? These thieves want MORE money from the international goodwill fund, that nearly a billion dollars, given for the earthquake? Disgusting. Shameless, Corrupt. Long may the computer just say, 'NO'. or 'PO'
Back home in my language we have a saying that roughly translates to - "A dog's tail can never be straightened", although I prefer the politer version - "A leopard can never change it's spots". Seems oddly applicable here.
"unique tradition and culture" - exemplarily concise recital of the standard fall-back magic words people who are incapable of thinking about an issue spout out in place of rational debate.
But seriously, is anyone surprised by this? First Japanese Antarctic whaling mission was in 1934, with a boat built in Scotland and fitted with Norwegian technology. Neither unique, not traditional, nor cultural.
Stubbornness, plain and simple. This country has higher priorities at which money needs to be directed.
Got no problem what so ever with Japan whaling in its own waters.... but if Japan tries to whale in International waters... then they should be prevented.
But if you are against whaling, then surely you are against whaling in any waters, whether it's Japan's waters or not.
'It said the ruling earlier this month by the International Court of Justice was “truly regrettable” but “does not necessarily prevent Japan’s whaling, which is a unique tradition and culture”.'
In other words, we have no argument that people with any iota of common sense or logic would accept and so we'll fall back on tried and trusted nationalistic tripe.
The key word in the article is the word "scheme". Give it up already. No one wants your whale meat. There is no "science" to this mad killing. Its unprofitable, and the Sea Shepherd organization will never, ever give up. Take this time as an opportunity to get out with a straight face.
pride and culture has no illogical limits, notice even the pro whalers posters dont come to the defense of these hypocritical recalcitrant illogical xenophobic geriatric bureaucrats with as much vigor as they use to.
and I find it truly regrettable that Mr Abe and his gvt can find a way to translate "abide by the ruling" to "change of tactics"... Absolutely deplorable.
Christ, give it up Japan. This, coming from the fisheries committee. Whale aren't even fish.
I see Japan has to much pride about its whaling researching byproduct, and must keep pushing for a lost and prohibited thinking, I also see china and South Korea wont let go their history, it just makes sense now!
It's amazing how many people have misunderstood the ICJ's ruling.
It stated that the current whaling programme was unscientific. It did not state that whaling itself was unscientific. Nor did it forbid Japan from carrying out whaling in the future. New Zealand immediately cautioned against that as soon as the verdict was given.
There is nothing in the ICJ's ruling to prevent a tighter, more scientific whaling program to commence.
You may not like that, and it will almost certainly lead to a lot of negative ratings but your misunderstanding of the ruling doesn't change the fact that the ruling left the door open for Japan to create a new whaling programme.
This is nothing to do with Japan's pride. Japan is confident that justice is on their side and anti-whale group is being hypocrite and unfair.
No, Heda, what is amazing is that folks like you, and, unfortuantely these legislators, want to find yet another way to disguise commercial whaling. Just read what they said:
They don't care one twit about the research. They just want to maintain a supposed "unigue tradition and culture" The fact that they stated
is clear enough to any reasonable person of their intent.
Japanese oyaji really need to grow up on stuff like this. Yeah those big bad evil gaikokujin have a whole world out there, and yeah Japan is part of it. More foreigners and foreign ideas will come to your country. Japan will be forced to change. It's inevitable, the only choose Japan has in the matter is what direction that change takes.
I can't believe you got so many thumbs-down. I completely agree. Their intention is to abide by the letter of the law. The ICJ did not forbid whaling outright, in fact they found it "not unreasonable", but quibbled about the sample size. Japan is complying with the ruling, and there is no "circumventing" going on here.
Now don't get me wrong, I'd love to see the whaling programme scrapped outright for moral reasons... just the same as I'd like to a see honesty in reporting for moral reasons. Unfortunately neither is about to happen anytime soon.
There is a large commercial infrastructure in Japan for the fishing, distribution, and sale of whale meat. Many Japanese are looking at having their livelyhoods taken away, as their shops and restaurants will be forced to either adapt to different dishes, or close up shop. Many of these shops and distributors are located in rural areas, and as rural votes carry more weight than urban votes, like farmers, these folks have a disproportionate amount of power in Japan's political system.
Also this entire situation is another example of how Japan tries to worm it's way out of legal agreements and treaties. Japan said they would stop commercial whaling, and then found a legal loophole which allowed them to continue whailing unabated. Japan has done the same thing to get around past trade agreements with America and other countries.
Most likely, Japan will find another way to get around the recent ban by changing their modus operandi slightly to get around the letters of the ruling, and things will continue as they have before. Should Japan sign it's name to other agreements like TPP, it would probably do the same thing to get around allowing duty-free goods to get into Japan
“Lawmakers demand gov't 'redesign' whaling program” Jeez, are these Lawmakers losing their minds?
If Japan would circumvent the ICJ's ruling as these defying legislators indicated, the repercussions and ramification will be felt soon. For starters, Japan’s credibility will be hurt in the international community.
Here is the thing, Abe admin has been preaching to Japan's neighbors (Russia, China and S.K) for abiding by the rule of law . Now, when Japan itself says one thing and does another, that could be a deadly self-inflicted wound right there.
While I feel uneasy with an aspect of cultural colonialism, I don't know a single individual who regularly eats whale meat and I'm sure that it is merely a misleading cover-up for keeping the money pool which it offers to a handful of privileged people rather than for the minority who actually have the habit of eating whale meat.
Jerseyboy... you read the AFP version... not the ICJ's ruling. Two very different accounts.
This is what the NZ foreign minister said at the time: "The Japanese will take the decision and see if they want to devise another programme that meets the terms the court spelt out.
The court ruled that Jarpa II did not meet the criteria required. It did not ban the Japanese from whaling. It did not prevent them from creating new programmes, precisely what the NZ foreign minister spoke about.
There is absolutely nothing in the ICJs ruling to prevent the Japanese starting a new whaling programme. Something that was commented upon at the time.
They should stop whaling, if just not to stop hurting their image in the world for an activity that creates a lot of meat that just sits in freezers. Even if whaling itself is not unethical, killing animals when there isn't a demand for their meat is unethical.
Now that all said, if they restructure the program to deal with the issues brought up by the judgement at the ICJ, then they aren't doing anything illegal by going whaling again. The judgement didn't specifically prohibit whaling, it simply said that their current methods did not meet the standards that are required of the moratorium on whaling.
That, I think, is exactly what this is all about. If there weren't so many over-valued votes at stake the politicians would just shrug, say "shoganai" and that would be that. If they actually cared so much about Japan's unique culture and heritage they wouldn't have allowed so much of it to be bulldozed and buried in concrete.
"Japanese lawmakers on Wednesday demanded the government redesign its “research” whaling program to circumvent an international court ruling that described the program as a commercial hunt dressed up as science."
CIRCUMVENT? You can't circumvent a court ruling. You can only COMPLY with it. Is anything AFP writes about whaling not overtly biased??
Anyone who is optimistic about Japan ending it's whaling hunts is terribly naive I'm afraid. It will continue you on until the new generation is much much older. Same goes for many current controversies go on now in Japan.
Do it! Do it! Then, you will be illegally poaching whales in an international whale sanctuary and your ships will be seized and turned into coffee cans!
When they say, "circumvent' they actually mean, 'abuse, construe, twist, manipulate and exploit.
Just to keep harping on the same point: There are ample stocks of whales in the oceans around Japan to supply the dwindling market for whale meat. Japan does not need to waste millions of tax payers money every year just to fill freezers with meat they have to give away!
They are so full of crap, it's not a culture and tradition unique to Japan, many countries used to do it as well but stopped when they developed better ways to feed themselves. Sometimes the Japanese are so big headed about culture.
LMAO The law makers basically said let pass a law to get around another law! In other words lets write the rules of the game so that w can win. I cant believe they boldly find a way to continue the research operation “so as to play a responsible role as the only country in the world with a scientific approach”. I cant believe they said that! So who are they fooling?
You will ever walk alone....... on this one too.
Only if they do it in the Southern Ocean, if they do it in their own coastal waters there is nothing illegal whatsoever. This would have the added bonus (from the Japanese point of view) of reducing costs as they wouldn't need to go to the Southern Ocean. Iceland and Norway have already done the same I believe.
This (http://ameblo.jp/nyudow/image-11815928966-12900926244.html) is a piece of article of Tokyo shimbun, in which, the author writes that the monopolization by Fisheries Agency and "amakudari" corporations of distribution network under the name of "research whaling" may rather have destroyed the traditional whaling by rural fishers in coastal areas. However, even the monopolization didn't live long. Now visit Japan and see how many shops/restaurants offer whale meat with your own eyes. Ironically, it must have been very easy for the majority who don't have habit of eating whale meat to give it up entirely upon anti-whaling propaganda. And yet, judging from these outputs, bureaucrats seem to be still trying to cling to the concession, which is now most likely to be tax-based. Does it comes as a surprise if there is a huge gap between what these bureaucrats try to make people believe through a part of mass media and actual lives?
Auug, no. Dishes like Hari Hari nabe, Saezuri, Koro and Onomi have been a dish that have been enjoyed from the Edo period which was not something overly special or rare. People who argue whaling is not a tradition should understand that food culture of eating whale is traditional and that there are number of dishes that whale meat is the main ingredient for at least a hundred years.
By the majority? Even inland and during the age without fridge? My understanding is that they are quite rare dishes and mainly for rich people-my common sense tells the same. Honestly, I don't believe there were constant supply networks of whale meat in hundred years.
The Maruetsu supermarket chain which is jointly owned by MARUBENI/AEON/DAIEI (operating about 300 stores in the Tokyo and Kanto region) keeps attractively chilled packages of "whale bacon" on sale in the seafoods section year round. Customers can do their own research.
'The forty strong fisheries committee...'
An indicator of how many people in Japan stand to benefit from this 'must save face...make loophole..' attempt. As far as walking out of the International Whaling Convention, that's not really a good idea. There are more than a few countries who might feel the need not to make it to 2020 Olympics for one reason or another-and this would certainly be one of them in Australia or NZ.
The whaling was legally sanctioned on the basis of being scientific research and has never been sanctioned on the basis that it is 'a unique cultural tradition'. There is no evidence to support the claim that it has been a unique cultural tradition using sonar or modern processing equipment off Antarctica for hundreds of years either.
@yokatta and that is one reason why Japan is falling behind is asian rivals, because it refuses or cannot change with the times, thise who hang on to the past have no future.
where are those commentors who said Sea shepherd will not be needed anymore?
No terrorist organization is ever needed.
@horizon360 There are indeed, "hardcore fans", whom I'd rather call gourmets.
This is pretty expected, the lawmakers have to appear patriotic and the country abandoned the 'tradition' argument when they claimed the 'scientific' argument. If the government was smart the would acknowledge the ruling, reduce the whaling and licenses to 20% of their current levels and then charge the out the bum for whale meat. The government holds on to tradition, looks modern, and makes money.
Hari hari nabe was a common dish ate around the Kansai area. Saezuri and Koro are also common items in Kantodaki. Whale meat do not need it to be overly fresh since they are cooked in a broth. Whale meat last longer then fish. Japanese also preserved it by cooking them in Soysauce now known as Kujira no Yamato ni or Kujira no shigure ni.
If whales are in international waters then they are fair game.
@SamuraiBlue Yeah, I know that there are some historical evidences of eating whale meat and I'm not counter-arguing that. What I was pointing is that there seem to be different opinions about how common it was and I have my suspicion about making it look like a tradition common for all Japanese, whose diet varies depending on individuals. And, of course, who would be benefitted by such oversimplification?
Without a fidge and modern farming there weren't much green vegies in the winter time either. Whale meat was usually ate as long as they were able to obtain some and it was often a common catch around the sea. It became more and more scarce after the moratorium not before.
No, it means that everyone has to come to an agreement.
At the very least eat whats been stockpiled first before greedily catching more... There is absolutely no justifiable reason to be hording the meat when you havent finished whats on your plate. Thats just rude...
harald, they are not referring to the current method of hunting but the fact that they have been hunting and eating whales for many centuries : http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E6%97%A5%E6%9C%AC%E3%81%AE%E6%8D%95%E9%AF%A8
I personally hope they will give this up. Whales have suffered for too long. Not many people know this, but whales used to be hunted exclusively for their oil and were often dumped back into the water without being eaten. The bowhead whale and sperm whale almost became extinct because of it.
Well then Momotaro, how about eating some venison instead.
This has become too small a world for small island nations to mess around the great outdoors any more.
Was it common to all the Japanese? As I have wrote, there seem to be varied opinions about how popular the diet was.
In any case, I don't totally agree with any single-sided view although I have my own preference. Either it's "Whales shouldn't be eaten" or "Eating-whale is a tradition common to all Japanese" are just opinions and I don't see any justification in forcing such opinions on the lives of other people, either employing the name of "science" or "culture." Personally, I don't eat any meat but I have no intention to force this on any other individual, which is my preference-not justice or political/privilege. I see more of political satisfaction of conquering the others rather than justice here. And, of course, there are always people who exploit such political arguments for their own interests.
For something to be considered a cultural tradition it must have been done for three generations - 100 years. Fail!
As I have posted it was more common before the moratorium. Whale has been a source of protien for the Japanese as far as I know and protest against whaling has a deep history with beef negotiations. If you do some research on the time line the commercial whaling moratorium coincides with the Uraguay rounds in which the US was pressuring Japan to open her meat market.
Now I am not impling that the beef packers had orchestrated all of it since there was a sincere concern for some species of whales at the time BUT that doesn't mean other parties would join the ride to push their own agenda. The vocal nations of anti-whaling right now happens to be beef producing nations like Australia, the United States and various South American nations as well.
Basically a population of any nation will only consume a certain amount of protien in their diet and whale meat is a direct competitor against those other source of protien that is imported.
If whales are in international waters then they are fair game. your waters do what you like, international waters everybody gets a say. thats why its called INTERNATIONAL.
'Whale meat is a direct competitor against those other source(s) of protein being imported'.
Not even close. Whale meat doesnt even come close to competing with beef. It is on the fringe. The industry is losing money due to a steady declining interest in it. It is certainly not available everywhere. People dont eat it as regular part of their diet. And the Japanese will not starve for lack of protein without whale meat. It is utterly absurd to suggest that Japan is dependant on it for its protein requirements.
Interesting you all bash Nihon , not one has commented on who else takes whales for food , look to the Nordic countries , why have no-one given them a hard time ? They do it annually also , admittedly in their own oceans , but I see the argument is to cease whaling , so why is there no voice against other countries to cease also ?
Most of those who vote for these politicians are voting against their own interests.
There probably is - on the 'NorwayToday' website.
These guys are just incredible.
What a disgrace. Do they really not have any idea of how this makes Japan look? It's deceitful, selfish and myopic. Is this really the state of modern Japan?
Will the Japanese people really passively sit by and just let these fools do this?
Stupidity in in purest form.
Yes, redesign program and also redesign whale products. For example whale meat can be packaged in a very small quantity/ small price, like 5 -10 grams, and export worldwide ,especially in Asian countries , so many people can have a taste of whale meat, probably first time in their life. I like to see this type of products in Vietnam , I think it will sell well.
Heda -- no, I read the statements by the lawmakers, which I noted in my post. Did YOU bother to read those?
Japanese tradition and culture? Fish and seafood. Not meat eating. They had protein from seafood. There was not large whale catching ships, then, Meat eating culture came after Meiji Ishin made formally discrinated meat eaters and cow handlers as commoners. Whale hunting with small boats? (kobune and fune) How they could catch huge whales?
Says a person who hasn't even tried once, very disappointing. Some people like beef other prefer pork and/or chicken while other prefer whale. Different stroke for different folks.
As I posted I like whale meat when prepared properly. It has a distinctive taste like sheep and or Kangaroo but people finds a liking once they get use to it.
Don't assume to know what you dont. How do you know I haven't tried it ? As a matter of fact I have. The taste was neither here nor there. But that doesn't change the fact that whale meat is no way a direct competitor to beef. Nor does it change the fact that it is pure greed to keep stockpiling the stuff and go out hunting for more.
Umm, yes people do vote in their disinterest (if they even bother voting). The last time I checked, 85% of Japanese are indifferent to this issue, which has cost them (as taxpayers) billions of yen in the last decade. I would say that is a bit too much for something that you are indifferent about, especially in this age of massive govt. budget deficits and struggling households. (I hope to get a comment from those who disagree instead of a "hit-and-run" thumbs down (only).
"Redesign" ? Good luck with that. If my 3 year-old, says "Mummy, why do Japanese eat whales?", we could expect that most adults in the world too would deduce that it is not "research". Just who exactly were they kidding? We don't need more oyaji in the Diet with child-like mentalities to perpetuate this myth anymore, now really, do we? Most Japanese fail to understand that the vast majority of whale meat harvested by Japanese is exported to China and North Korea for consumption and is not consumed by Japanese. It's the same as the dolphin killing in Taiji. It is business, plain and simple.
How to redesign whaling. Virtual whaling, of course. Whaling video games would be more profitable and scientific than the real thing.
If Japan whales in International waters... it sets a very bad precedence and other countries may follow Japan's lead. I truly think the Japanese know what they're doing is wrong but they are extremely stubborn. If you tell them to stop doing something, even though they might think you're right, they cannot stop.... they would lose face. Now if you left them alone for a year or two... that might help... because then they could, on their own, decide to stop and not lose face and be the hero. Pretty much like a stubborn 3 year old.
They got NO money from any international goodwill fund given for the earthquake.
Why? Isn't a whale a whale no matter where it is? And except for the IWC's regulations, there is no international law against whaling.
Would that be the ruling that laid out exactly what in the JARPAII plan needed changing to be in compliance? Or the ruling that actually contemplated Japan, or some other country, resuming research whaling?
They suggested leaving the IWC. That looks pretty blatant to me, no disguise there.
Circumventing was the news articles word. the reality is the ruling lays out what is needed for a plan to meet the requirements. So instituting such a plan is actually FOLLOWING the ruling not circumventing it.
No they won't! No they won't! The sanctuary and ALL the IWC regulations only apply to MEMBERS. If Japan quits then NONE of it applies to them any more and they can whale as much as they want in international waters. Just like after Canada quit the IWC, they now issue their own permits to hunt whales and no poaching is involved.
No, they basically said let's do what the ICJ said and bring our program into compliance with the regulations.
Well actually the IWC regulations REQUIRE the meat to be processed as far as practicable. So the IWC's regulations basically expect the meat to be used.