COVID-19 INFORMATION What you need to know about the coronavirus if you are living in Japan or planning a visit.
politics

'I hate whale meat,' Hatoyama reportedly tells Dutch PM

33 Comments

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has revealed he dislikes whale meat, a newspaper reported Saturday, in an unusual confession for the prime minister of a country that defies Western criticism of whaling. "I hate whale meat," Hatoyama said during a meeting with his visiting Dutch counterpart Jan Peter Balkenende last Monday at the prime minister's office, the Sankei Shimbun reported.

The Netherlands is one of several anti-whaling countries that allows the radical environmental group Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to register a vessel in the country.

The group's activists have repeatedly harassed Japanese whaling vessels in Antarctic waters. During the last hunt a Sea Shepherd vessel collided with a whaling ship, sparking allegations that the group was behaving irresponsibly.

Despite Hatoyama's reported dislike of whale meat, however, he urged Balkenende to take action against the group over its attacks on Japanese whalers in the Antarctic, government officials said.

Japan hunts whales by using a loophole in the 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling that allows "lethal research" on the creatures, but makes no secret of the fact that the meat often ends up on dining tables.

Tokyo often accuses Western critics of insensitivity toward its culture and heritage.

Hatoyama's center-left government, which took office in October, has deviated little from the pro-whaling policies adopted by the previous administration, which had traditionally close ties with farmers and fishermen.

© Wire reports

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

33 Comments
Login to comment

In other words Hatoyama supports Sea Shepherd, welcome to Conservation Society :)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In other words Hatoyama supports Sea Shepherd, welcome to Conservation Society :)

That's like saying if you hate America, you must support Al-Qaeda. Hatoyama is a politician who is ultimately loyal to vote and coin, sea sheppards has none to give but the whaling industry does.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I tried whale meat once. I didn't care for it. Maguro is much better.

I hear Hatoyama is addicted to ebi-sembei. I can't stand those.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This comment has either cemented his seat as PM or he has just committed political suicide. It will be interesting to watch the backlash build and see which way it goes.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Exactly ,why tell Dutch PM you don't like whale meat and ask him to intervene SS vessel at the same time? Hatoyama is not a very good politician ,isn't he?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

this is about the same as a closet racist saying "some of my friends are black..."

maybe, but you wouldn't want one marrying your daughter, just like despite not liking whale meat, Hatoyama ultimately supports the whaling industry.

Just another empty political statement meant to appease without conceding anything.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I love fried whale meat

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is hilarious! Well done Mr Hatoyama for speaking the truth.

I tried a piece of whale sushi that was circling on the conveyor belt in the local kaiten-zushi shop... it tasted awful to be honest. No wonder the market for whale meat in Japan is just a tiny tiny niche market.

It is Japanese housewives who decide what goes on the family table. Speak to almost any Japanese housewife and will you find someone eager to put whale steaks on the menu? No way! It would be hard to find a group of people more apathetic towards whale meat than Japanese housewives...

But the point to remember is... what on earth are the Japanese doing in the Antarctic?

Have you ever heard Japanese middle-aged men speak about whaling? If you have then you will know that they will always talk about their "food culture". For the Japanese, apparently their "food culture" is very very important.

So people are wondering, how can Japanese culture stretch all the way to include the Antarctic? What is the connection between the Antarctic and Japanese culture?! If there are any Japanese people posting here then please enlighten us (and I mean real Japanese people, not bogus posters such as Nihonryu who have been created by david@tokyo).

Also bear in mind the Madrid Agreement, which countries have signed to preserve the Antarctic for "peaceful scientific research". Are Japan's massive Victorian-era style whale-grabbing expiditions to the pristine Antarctic environment in the spirit of the Madrid Agreement?

The truth is they are completely out of step with the wonderful sentiments represented by that agreement. Japan by its own admission has an abundance of whales on its doorstep. It would do well to stick to them to preserve its very important food culture.

Its time for Japan to stop imposing its culture and values on the Antarctic.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Itried a piece of whale sushi that was circling on the conveyor belt in the local kaiten-sushi"

Lol! At least the whale meat I tried was properly cooked in an izakaya.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If you research Japanese whaling you'll find that it is only a tradition in a few villages. And of course they never used advanced technology that exists today or hunted in the Antarctic.

Also, there was no idea of "Japaneseness" before Meiji so claiming whaling is a Japanese tradition is flawed.

But frankly, the best way to stop Japanese people from eating whale would be if every stopped trying to stop them. Remove the nationalism and presto!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

i love whale meat so i'll eat hatoyama's share.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't know what's more stupid: Hatoyama's political gaffe right here, or the anti-whaling arguments of non-vegan/vegetarians who have no qualms about eating non-Cetacea mammals on a daily basis.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Very good diplomatic language.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They only started re-whaling because they saw a business opportunity to exploit. If Japan cared so much for tradition why doesn't everyone wear Kimono's?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The group’s activists have repeatedly harassed Japanese whaling vessels in Antarctic waters. During the last hunt a Sea Shepherd vessel collided with a whaling ship,

Ahahahahahaahhaa I wish I was there to take a video and mock them idiots. whale meat sucks anyway...eww

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They only started re-whaling because they saw a business opportunity to exploit. If Japan cared so much for tradition why doesn't everyone wear Kimono's? Damn right, so much whining about "ahh this is our tradition, please understand, blah blah blah" but what about being really traditional and stop buying so much Louis Vuitton and Chanel, huh? Why don't they wear Kimono every day now like before? This is a country that wants everything and it just doesn't work like that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They only started re-whaling because they saw a business opportunity to exploit. If Japan cared so much for tradition why doesn't everyone wear Kimono's?

Damn right, so much whining about "ahh this is our tradition, please understand, blah blah blah" but what about being really traditional and stop buying so much Louis Vuitton and Chanel, huh? Why don't they wear Kimono every day now like before? This is a country that wants everything and it just doesn't work like that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's possible to support whaling and dislike whale meat...that's not such an unusual position. From all reports, whale meat is not all that good, and the tradition of eating it will probably die out in this generation. With some exceptions, young people tend to think of it as "old people's food." They may not quit whaling for a while, but in my view the market is drying up in Japan...maybe they will sell it to other countries when it is still popular.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think that should be the attitude of people. Hatoyama doesn't like it, he hates it but he is not going to tell other people to stop eating it because he has no right to do so. In effect, he is actually trying to tell the world that hey, the prime minister in Japan also don't eat whale meat as other countries but he wants people to respect the rights of some people, albeit minority, to eat the food they like to eat as long as it is in the bounds of international law.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Of course, Hatoyama did not eat whale meat during shortage of food after end of WW2, and he did have to eat it at that time. He is from very very rich family. Many many poor people ate it almost everyday. He loved Western culture and rather ate beef. pork, etc.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Thats not what he said on the latest episode of Southpark.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

http://www.southparkstudios.com/

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Do your research. Whale meat is loaded with toxins because it is at the top of the food chain. So, whale meat lovers, eat your share, but you'll be paying the price healthwise.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yeah, good for Hatayama for saying that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They aint at the top of the food chain if I'm eating them! Hatoyama, as was mentioned earlier, didn't have to eat whale after the war. He was growing up on caviar and steak.

yamashinaku at 01:29 PM JST - 1st November

Do your research. Whale meat is loaded with toxins because it is at the top of the food chain. So, whale meat lovers, eat your share, but you'll be paying the price healthwise.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Somebody will swing for this. Such candid comments are not supposed to be reported in the press. Also, considering the whaling lobby here in Japan, the spaceman is going to have to do some pretty good dancing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"I hate whale meat."

This is disgusting. This man is supposed to represent the Japanese people and he says he hates our representative food. Just to appease a liberal European.

We need the LDP back, now.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Whale sushi is tasty in some good sushi places. But i would still support a real ban on whaling. It sounds like a pretty crappy evasion of Hatoyama" to just say he dislikes the taste. Poor rhetorics. He should either say he is pro or against. of course politically he knows that being pro means getting in trouble with international community, but maybe even more important by being against whaling he will have problems with groups in Japan. Also many restaurants and supermarkets sell whale meat. I even have a can of whale meat pieces as a souvenir i bought in Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think he said this just to try to get onto good terms with the Dutch. I doubt it will work however.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think he said this just to try to get onto good terms with the Dutch. I doubt it will work however.

No really I think he means it. Whale meat isn't that good - kind of has a taste like polar bear...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That Southpark episode is incredible. Really nasty. http://www.southparkstudios.com/episodes/251888/ I don't like the taste of whale meat, but cow eaters that complain about whaling get my goat.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It doesnt matter about taste or neccessity, eating whale meat is "Japanese Culture." After losing the war Japan does not have a lot of important things to complain about so politicians make a big deal with whale meat and rice taxes to stick it back to the white man.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Fact is very few eat mercury, I mean whale, in Japan anyway. And has been proven here many times the LDP nutties fund the research effort which loses money every year because, again people hate whale meat in Japan for the most part.

The reason why the J folks can still kill whales today is that they are protected by the civilized countries.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites