A captured Minke whale is unloaded after commercial whaling at a port in Kushiro, Hokkaido Prefecture on July 1, 2019. Photo: REUTERS/Masashi Kato
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Whale meat fetches 'celebration prices' after Japanese hunt

40 Comments

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40 Comments

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Disgusting. Take away the subsidies and see how long it lasts.

5 ( +27 / -22 )

Can't believe many more than a few hundred people out of 126,000,000 would be celebrating. In 25 years I'm still yet to meet a Japanese person who says he/she likes eating whale meat.

6 ( +26 / -20 )

Another day, another whale meat article.

I agree, take away the subsidies and see what happens.

5 ( +23 / -18 )

Awesome! At those prices it not take long to bankrupt the hunters.

0 ( +17 / -17 )

Complete with 'celebration mercury'

1 ( +20 / -19 )

Enjoy the limelight while it last due to the daily media reports.

Hope one or two weeks from now when the euphoria has died down there

is no complaining how the populace is showing no interest in a Japanese tradition

and asking for more subsidies due to a national need to maintain the whaling tradition.

3 ( +16 / -13 )

What a farce!

Looks like nothing more but a PR gig.

And of course another way to waste tax-payers' money.

3 ( +18 / -15 )

The meat sold Thursday for up to 15,000 yen ($140) per kilogram (2.2 pounds), several times higher than the prices paid for Antarctic minkes.

This is it, this is all about business, this is about making money. The Japanese must stop their disgusting hypocrisy and say it plain and simple. Instead of coming up with the BS reason about culture.

-3 ( +14 / -17 )

 In 25 years I'm still yet to meet a Japanese person who says he/she likes eating whale meat.

quite a few old school izakayas have whale sashimi on the menu in tokyo. and when i go to my local, people are always ordering it. so not really sure if your anecdotal evidence would be more convincing than mine, but it's a reality that people still eat it.

and subsidies exist for many industries in every country (cars, agricultural products, solar panels, etc.) so what's the big deal if whaling is subsidized in japan?

-1 ( +17 / -18 )

This is it, this is all about business, this is about making money.

Yes and?

The Japanese must stop their disgusting hypocrisy and say it plain and simple. Instead of coming up with the BS reason about culture.

Huh, it's clearly stated as standard commercial fisheries, with a catch quota and all. This is not conducted as some kind of cultural bonanza, it's stated clearly as being for commercial purposes (like virtually every other activity conducted around the world by human societies, and I imagine you indulge in commercial activities yourself from time to time).

5 ( +17 / -12 )

Good to hear! Hopefully the high prices for whale meat causes more businesses to enter the industry to provide more competition and higher quality meats and other whale-based products. I'll definitely be tasting the catch!

-2 ( +13 / -15 )

what's the big deal if whaling is subsidized in japan?

Is it actually being subsidized here?

Given the rough deal that they have had due to the sham "moratorium" that was never lifted, I'm sympathetic to their plight, but it's better to abolish any subsidies that might exist.

That said I've not actually seen evidence of such subsidies for this commercial activity, and would tend to believe such claims are just baseless nonsense being stated by those grasping for reasons to complain about it.

-4 ( +10 / -14 )

Enjoy the limelight while it last due to the daily media reports.

Believe it or not there is not a hell of a lot, regarding this, in the national media. This is one of those topics that gets people fired up here.

The average Japanese person does not give a crap about this issue really.

And THAT is a totally different story, in my opinion, more Japanese should be made aware of how much the government is subsidizing whale hunting and give the people the pro's and con's information, all of it, and let them make the decision.....................but I guarantee you they wont!

6 ( +11 / -5 )

The government will continue to subsidize the whaling just as it does with rice farming. Unless people stop buying and eating whale it will continue.

1 ( +11 / -10 )

The subsidies are about ¥800 million per year for an industry with about 300 direct workers.

6 ( +15 / -9 )

Is this figure relevant today in the new era of commercial whaling? If so, provide reliable evidence of it. Thanks in advance.

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

Good to hear! Hopefully the high prices for whale meat causes more businesses to enter the industry to provide more competition and higher quality meats and other whale-based products. I'll definitely be tasting the catch!

And also tasting the Mercury.

Good luck.

2 ( +14 / -12 )

This reminds them of good old days.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

We should declare a new national holiday to celebrate this!

0 ( +11 / -11 )

Why do so many of you keep claiming that no one eats whale meat in Japan? Just Google search (in Japanese) for restaurants that specialize or serve whale meat and you'll see that they're all throughout the country. Every single supermarket where I live sells whale meat and most of the izakayas have it on their menus too.

2 ( +13 / -11 )

I doubt if the high prices will last. The high prices for the first batch of commercially caught meat is more of a symbolic gesture to prove Japan's whaling culture is a culture of profit and has bugger all to do with tradition. The prices will drop very quickly forcing the government to increase its subsidies or watch the industry go down the spout from a very small market for the meat.

I've noticed a few regularly occurring comments about mercury in the meat. Minke whales are baleen whales that consume mostly krill. These types of whales do not accumulate heavy metals and pesticides in their bodies due to their diet. However, dolphins and toothed whales, like pilot whales do accumulate alarming amounts of heavy metals and pesticides in their bodies and have been deemed unfit for human consumption by the WHO. Unfortunately, in many cases in Japan, dolphin and toothed whale meat is not differentiated baleen whale meat and sold as wholesome and yummy whale meat in supermarkets and izakayas. However, of course, you can still buy clearly labeled packs of dolphin and pilot whale meat to take home and poison your kids with. YUM! YUM! - Pilot whales are hunted off the Chiba coast and a lot of the meat ends up in izakayas in Tokyo all fried up and ready to poison patrons. How wonderful!

USNinJapan2 - Why do so many of you keep claiming that no one eats whale meat in Japan? Just Google search (in Japanese) for restaurants that specialize or serve whale meat and you'll see that they're all throughout the country. Every single supermarket where I live sells whale meat and most of the izakayas have it on their menus too.

Just because it's on the menu does not mean people are eating it. You'd be surprised to learn that many Japanese are wising up to izakayas serving cheap and mercury tainted dolphin meat as whale, most of which has been in the freezer for years.

-1 ( +11 / -12 )

Japans culture, Japans tradition, Japans right to eat whatever they choose.

-6 ( +13 / -19 )

What a barbarous celebration!

4 ( +15 / -11 )

Lots of politicians who represent these regions get paid to represent the interests of whalers. Follow the money. Anyway, I have nothing against whaling. We humans eat all kinds of animals.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

Don't the publicity generating auctions for fruit like melons and cherries generate figures that are in the thousands of USD?

Official whaling restarts and the best its supporters can do is 15,000 yen a kilo? 140 USD? It like damning with faint praise. Proof yet again that no-one is actually that bothered about the meat.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

I guess at least they don't have to ever pretend it's about science again.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

LudditeToday 04:10 pm JST

Another day, another whale meat article.

Get used to it. This barrage is going to continue until everyone has been re-educated that Whale meat is and always has been a daily part of everyone's life here.

I predict it will be on all public school menus nationally, and expect less tuna and more whale on shelves in supermarkets.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Japans culture, Japans tradition, Japans right to eat whatever they choose.

Fair enough...just dont waste our tax money on subsidizing it...if it proves it can do commercially well without tax handouts so be it.

9 ( +14 / -5 )

I predict it will be on all public school menus nationally

I think that unlikely. Whale meat on school menus is as unpopular with the parents as it is with the kids. My local sushi restaurant owners refuse to allow their three kids to eat it due to health concerns, and other parents have followed their lead. They no longer force feed it to the kids here.

and expect less tuna and more whale on shelves in supermarkets.

Supermarkets put profits ahead of politics, and customers want more tuna and less whale. Then again, the way Japan is emptying the seas of bluefin tuna you may be right.

In discarding an international framework for whaling Japan has essentially given China & Korea the green light to ignore Japan's proposal to limit catches of saury and unagi. They may have sacrificed tasty fish for toxic whales.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Just because it's on the menu does not mean people are eating it. 

It surely does though, unless the earth is flat.

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

I celebrate Iceland for not engaging in this savagery. Left to market forces the Japanese side too won't last a season. Kudos to Iceland for unilaterally CHOOSING not to continue.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Why is this being glorified? The only people I know that like whale meat live in Hokkaido.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

@3SHENSO, that is because there are still people eating and supporting this practice or at least is interested in trying it but normally doesn’t announce it to the world because are afraid to be criticize by others. Is like when you go interview or ask someone of their view concerning consuming whale meat and 10 out of 10 would say they don’t eat it or dislike it. Is not like many would tell you the truth anyway. While is true not many like it, there are still many who are interested in it. For me it just meat. You don’t want to consume it every day, but maybe once in a year it’s not bad. Just for special occasion or something. People just doesn’t want to see this practice be forgotten.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Good for them.

No one has a right to judge what other countries eat.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Japan should be disgusted with itself for this.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Every single supermarket where I live sells whale meat and most of the izakayas have it on their menus too.

Not where I live. The only whale meat restaurant I've seen was in Kochi a few years back. Didn't have any customers.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

There are prefectures which consume zero whale meat, just not any kind of tradition there.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

"just dont waste our tax money on subsidizing it"

No one is stopping you to go pay your taxes elsewhere in the world.

Japanese have all the right to eat whales caught in their own waters; they can even buy from Iceland (who catches much more than the Japanese do).

I am against Kangaroo eating; try telling your Ozzi cousins this must stop because it's despicable!!!

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Whether whaling is a tradition or not is not so important. Anti-whalers request towards Japan should be "Hunt and eat only not endangered whales within the range of the real demand and to not destroy the ecosystem", NOT "Stop hunting and eating whale itself". Why on earth don't they understand there exists a big leap between the former and the latter request? There exists no reason to request the latter one to Japan and other whaling nations.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

My 50%+ tax rate contributes?!

helps make my decision easier.

so long Japan...

0 ( +4 / -4 )

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