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Pressure mounts on Australian PM over Japan whaling

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“When Mr Turnbull visits Japan, he must remind Mr Abe that Japan should accept the jurisdiction of the ICJ, as it promised, and abandon the whale hunt.”

Who needs whom more? Does Australia "need" Japan or vice versa? It comes down to money and power when dealing with Abe. If Abe is made to realize that continuing the whale hunting would severely damage the economy of Japan, he very well could be made to back down, BUT it is going to take more than just Australia to get it done.

Turnbull needs a coalition of countries that trade directly with Japan to stand up, tell him to stop, or face potential sanctions from the UN. Japanese politicians thrive on "image" and if the Japanese people are made to know that Japan's image abroad, through the UN is sinking, because of the whaling issue, I'll place a bet it gets stopped.

9 ( +18 / -9 )

I don't know why everyone always seems to forget that some North European countries hunt whales as well. The problem should be considered in general.

-3 ( +17 / -20 )

“Japan’s hunt is not scientific research, it’s nothing more than commercial whaling, and it’s been declared illegal by the International Court of Justice (ICJ),”

A spade is a spade! Regardless of all these arguments about Australia not owning the southern oceans and those other ridiculously non-related comments about kangaroo culling the fact is, Japan is defying a ruling from the international court of justice, which makes them nothing more than poachers. As stated above, it is time for Turnbull to forget diplomacy and treat these poachers as pirates. Australia confiscates and burns Indonesian fishing boats for poaching.

8 ( +18 / -10 )

I don't know why everyone always seems to forget that some North European countries hunt whales as well. The >problem should be considered in general.

So does the U.S.

One of my state's native tribes is allowed to take whales, but they only took like one whale within a few years' time. And they do have a legitimate claim that it's 'heritage', unlike you-know-who.

7 ( +13 / -7 )

One of my state's native tribes is allowed to take whales

Norway isn't a tribe, but one of the richest countries in the world, where whaling is still an industry.

Whaling in Norway involves the hunting of the Minke whale for the purpose of using the whale meat for human consumption, generally in Northern Norway. Whale hunting has been a part of Norwegian coastal culture for centuries, and commercial operations targeting the Minke whale have occurred since the early 20th century,[1] and some still continue the practice in the modern day.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whaling_in_Norway

So, I'd like a more balanced approach toward whaling worldwide. It's not like Europe is more special and some of her states can do whatever they want.

-6 ( +13 / -19 )

Norway isn't a tribe, but one of the richest countries in the world, where whaling is still an industry.

Since this tribe I'm talking about is within the borders of the United States, therefore the U.S. as a country also takes whales. That's all I'm saying. I'm certainly not disputing what you're saying about the Norwegians.

In fact, it is well known that the Japanese and the Norwegians are notorious for having a penchant for whale hunting.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

In fact, it is well known that the Japanese and the Norwegians are notorious for having a penchant for whale hunting.

But it's like Norway is considered "special" and can do whatever it wishes about whaling.

Always from Wikipedia:

International Legal Status Because the government of Norway maintains an objection to paragraph 10(e) (the section referring to the 1986 moratorium) of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW), the paragraph is not binding upon the Norwegian government, and thus the 1986 IWC global moratorium does not apply to them

Isn't this absurd? So, you often hear about Japan being attacked over this problem, but basically never about Norway. This double standard isn't good for international diplomacy, imho. It seems like discrimination toward Asians. In Europe there are many people who say that Asians are barbaric toward animals because of whaling in Japan, or eating dog meat in China and S.Korea, but these European people often don't even know what happens in Norway or in the Faroe Islands, just because the media are way more silent about it, even though sometimes you can read some articles like this (warning: graphic content): http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3173617/Fishermen-chase-250-whales-beach-Faroe-Islands-locals-leap-water-glee-stab-death-slaughter-turns-sea-red-blood.html

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Yes I think the issue will be spoken about for a brief moment.Malcom Turnbull is a business man his personal net wealth is around 80 million he is coming here to do business not to protest against whaling.I don't think Malcom is going to put Australia's security and trade at risk over the whaling issue that is not going to happen.He will probably be making announcements of awarding the submarine contract to Japan while he is here.The general public perception in Australia regarding Japan is not going to change due to this issue never has never will. If so well how about asking the farmers not to sell their products to Japan.Or all the miners not to work for Japanese companies.Or Australians not to buy Toyota's the list goes on.Most Australians will have a whine about whaling then light the BBQ throw on some kangaroo burgers have a beer and say..she will be right mate..end of story

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Turnbull needs a coalition of countries that trade directly with Japan to stand up, tell him to stop, or face potential sanctions from the UN.

sanctions based on what? the ICJ did not declare japan's whaling illegal. it stated that japan needed to clarify exactly the nature of the hunt. do you actually think countries will sanction japan over whaling? that's laughable on so many levels for an animal that is not even on the endangered list.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

AsianGaijinYesWeExistDEC. 17, 2015 - 07:52AM JST

One of my state's native tribes is allowed to take whales, but they only took like one whale within a few years' time. And they do have a legitimate claim that it's 'heritage', unlike you-know-who.

Let us check the facts. https://iwc.int/index.php?cID=html_76#aborig

Bering-Chukchi-Beaufort Seas stock of bowhead whales (taken by native people of Alaska and Chukotka) -A total of up to 336 bowhead whales can be landed in the period 2013 - 2018, with no more than 67 whales struck in any year (and up to 15 unused strikes may be carried over each year).

Eastern North Pacific gray whales (taken by native people of Chukotka and Washington State) - A total catch of 744 whales is allowed for the years 2013 - 2018 with a maximum of 140 in any one year.

https://iwc.int/table_aboriginal

Catches Taken, USA Alaska

2010, 71 whales

2011, 51 whales

2012, 69 whales

2013, 57 whales

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

Boom! Japan NEEDS the sub deal and defense cooperation desperately, and now Australia is going to bring up whaling at the same meetings! Haha!! When I suggested this a couple weeks back it was "off-topic", but I'm glad to see it is very much on. Hope the Aussie PM makes it clear that "cooperation" is a two-way street and Japan finally realizes its pride isn't worth losing actual things they need over.

Moderator: And this post is off topic also. The submarine issue and whaling are not related. Please learn how governments make defense procurements.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Australia decided that they would not accept whaling regardless of the eventual resumption once the moratorium is lifted. And it will as it was designed as a temporary measure which AU, NZ US under pressure from fundamentalist fund, rich in fund raining and votes, refuse to agree to a commitment to review it and back tracked. If AU does not abide from the constituent statues which govern the Convention and disagrees with its word and spirit to conservation and management, they should abandon IWC.

515 to 760.ooo thousand in the Antarctic right now and Japan is not defying anybody by hunting 333 under a new program NEWREP-A. Those who cling to the ruling by the ICJ are in a for a big surprise as they probably have not read it or interpreted. It says nothing about management of whales, nor about sustainable use of abundant marine species, nor about sanctuaries as they are not recognized by the international community. Despite close to 700 hundred scientific papers the Court remain open to a new program. Well, there it is.

And, finally yes, no country has the right to impose on others their views and values on what they eat.

-1 ( +10 / -11 )

To disrupt or not to disrupt the cozy relationship, eh Mr Turnbull. Fortunately it seems the Australian electorate will make that decision for you. Either you take stronger steps against the illegal Japanese whaling fleet, or labor will promise to do so - and thereby win the next election.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

no country has the right to impose on others their views and values on what they eat.

Try telling this to the LDP whaling lobby. The ICJ tried...

-4 ( +3 / -6 )

Mizuame. Are we on the same wave length? Nobody tells nobody else what to eat or like. I agree with Japan because I look beyond whaling and look at the principle of sustainable use on fisheries, beef, poultry and any animal that is abundant and wild. Animal rights over human rights makes me wonder about the state of society. I like animals of every sort but human beings and their rights come first and are my first priority. Maybe some prefer a docile companion. It is great. I enjoy whale meat once in while but mainly the right to decide. Japn is right on this one.

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

"While Turnbull’s first visit to key ally Japan as prime minister from Friday will cover a broad range of topics, including defence cooperation and trade, the controversial whale hunt will be on the agenda."

What does the defense cooperation include? Hope they don't agree to anything until Japan ceases whaling outside its own waters, since it's clearly not for science. Australia doesn't need Japan, Japan clearly stands to lose more.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

If Abe is made to realize that continuing the whale hunting would severely damage the economy of Japan

Unfortunately for Japan, Abe does not need anybody or external pressure to damage the economy. Your suggestion would work only with a PM trying to unit people, the current PM is doing everything to divide people.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

@CH3CHO

Let us check the facts.

So I mentioned one tribe, in one out of 50 states. Did I say I live in Alaska? I don't.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

I don't know why everyone always seems to forget that some North European countries hunt whales as well. The problem should be considered in general.

It is good that you mention Norway, and the Japanese should too but the more important issue is that whaling is not a problem but a solution. Even People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) agrees.

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

I was actually very surprised when OZ and NWZ endorsed Japan's entry in the TPP negociations without bringing up the whaling issue. I would have thought they would have used it as leverage. Japan is being very stupid. They had a great face saving way out of this problem after the ruling last year. They threw it away.

Turnbull needs a coalition of countries that trade directly with Japan to stand up, tell him to stop, or face potential sanctions from the UN. Japanese politicians thrive on "image" and if the Japanese people are made to know that Japan's image abroad, through the UN is sinking, because of the whaling issue, I'll place a bet it gets stopped.

Absolutely. And its a great idea.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

There would be fewer complaints if Japan stuck to whaling in its own territorial waters. Instead, they travel half way around the world to kill whales. The Australian PM has to make the best decisions for Australia, but he could suggest to Abe that if the bids for providing new submarines were close then issues like whaling might affect the outcome. But I doubt Abe would listen as he is blinded by nationalism.

Moderator: The submarine issue is not even remotely relevant to whaling.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

no country has the right to impose on others their views and values on what they eat.

SO if it was my "tribes" culture to eat dogs, no one has a right to impose on my values?

How about cannibals, can I eat you too!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

AsianGaijinYesWeExistDEC. 17, 2015 - 10:43AM JST

@CH3CHO

Let us check the facts.

So I mentioned one tribe, in one out of 50 states. Did I say I live in Alaska? I don't.

Go ahead. Tell us the name of the tribe and in which state they live.

-11 ( +5 / -16 )

That won't be necessary. All readers, please stay on topic.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't think Abe will do anything about it, Turnbull can say anything its not going to change a thing. However if Turnbull says he will lease the Northern part of Australia to China for strategic reasons, then Abe will put a hold on Whaling for an indefinite time.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Alex80DEC. 17, 2015 - 07:46AM JST I don't know why everyone always seems to forget that some North European countries hunt whales as well. The problem should be considered in general.

Australia and NZ are not affected by whaling in northern Europe.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

@Carlos Mazal

Nobody tells nobody else what to eat or like. I agree with Japan because I look beyond whaling and look at the principle of sustainable use on fisheries, beef, poultry and any animal that is abundant and wild. Animal rights over human rights makes me wonder about the state of society.

It's a fair point, but you're mistaken in thinking that Japan hunts whales for the sake of the sustenance of its people. To put it simply, Japan is run by an 'old boys club'. The whale hunts are funded by taxpayer money. That money pays for the thousands of amakudari fogies who get paid upwards of 10mil yen annually for doing nothing.

Like anything in Japan, never take it at face value. The sole purpose of the whale programmes is to keep the old boys club & their amakudari cronies happy. That's it. Tonnes and tonnes of whale meat is in government-owned freezers across Japan. Anyone that's been here long enough knows this.

10 ( +13 / -4 )

This is basically a political piece by AFP sponsored by Green Peace not any article of what Australian PM actually said.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This New York Times piece says it all:

The Big Lie Behind Japanese Whaling http://tinyurl.com/j7bqvlz

Japan's whaling has nothing to do with food, culture or science and everything to do with making a stand against international groups controlling fish supplies. Turnbell needs to suggest ways Japan can feel reassured no-one is going to take away their fish supplies; and tell them to quit being disingenuous nation as it will serve no good in future relations about fish or anything else.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Australia and NZ are not affected by whaling in northern Europe

Ireland, Iceland and other Northern European countries are affected.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

I hope that more countries step up to the plate to do what needs to be done to stop the Japanese from killing these whales. These whales belong to all of us.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

@Alex80

I don't know why everyone always seems to forget that some North European countries hunt whales as well

I don't think anyone forgets that. But this website is about Japan and this article is about Japan and Australia. Perhaps Abe might try the "Whatabout Norway?" defence, but apart from that Norwegian whaling isn't very relevant here.

@CH3CHO

Let us check the facts

The figures you've given are for all aboriginal whaling, but the poster you replied to was only referring to the whaling of a single tribe. Try not to twist the facts when you're checking them ;)

@nessie

Ireland, Iceland and other Northern European countries are affected

Iceland is one of the whaling countries!

@sighclops

Bang on.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Alex80: "I don't know why everyone always seems to forget that some North European countries hunt whales as well."

Who forgets that? YOU, on the other hand, seem to forget that this is a JAPAN news site. In any case, no one forgets that those other countries whale not far from their borders, unlike Japan, and have never claimed that it's about science, then fallen back on the "you're attacking our culture!" when you point out the science is bogus and instead Japan is trying to impose its will on others.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

It's a fair point, but you're mistaken in thinking that Japan hunts whales for the sake of the sustenance of its people. To put it simply, Japan is run by an 'old boys club'. The whale hunts are funded by taxpayer money. That money pays for the thousands of amakudari fogies who get paid upwards of 10mil yen annually for doing nothing.

Like anything in Japan, never take it at face value. The sole purpose of the whale programmes is to keep the old boys club & their amakudari cronies happy. That's it. Tonnes and tonnes of whale meat is in government-owned freezers across Japan. Anyone that's been here long enough knows this.

Exactly. It's the point I've been trying to get across for quite some time. It is one thing for people to hunt for subsistence reasons - and quite another for the sake of national pride. If Japanese people were all eating whale - we would still be disappointed - but we would accept it. More so if they were supplying Japanese people with whale meat from coastal waters. Sending their ships down to Antarctica is nothing to do with subsistence and everything to do with giving the west one in the eye, just because they know it irritates people. And as mentioned, amukadari chums are getting paid for doing nothing. Meanwhile the Japanese public are misinformed it's a tradition - and even though they don't eat whale - are coming to the defence of the indefensible.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Japan always sticks to its guns.... you never see Japan back down, I think Australia is the same.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

The sole purpose of the whale programmes is to keep the old boys club & their amakudari cronies happy. That's it. There was a government survey in 2002, and the results of the central question regarding minke whaling is here http://survey.gov-online.go.jp/h13/h13-hogei/images/zu16.gif The darker left hand bars are those that said they agree and agree more than disagree, broken down into sexes and age groups. It is especially popular with "old boys" in the sense that 83% of males over the age of 40 agree or agree more than disagree with whaling but, whaling does not only keep these old boys, but also the general public happy: 75.5% of the Japanese population is in favour of minke whaling with the proviso that whales are not hunted to extinction.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

75.5% of the Japanese population is in favour of minke whaling with the proviso that whales are not hunted to extinction

Again. Why hunt whales if there are no viable benefits to doing so? Killing for the sake of killing makes whalers no better than poachers in safari parks.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Minke whales are plentiful. Whatever the moral arguments, anyone worrying about a few getting shot at has their priorities totally wrong.

Save the tuna, I say - that's a much more relevant issue to put your energies into. Or save the Amazonian rainforest, the lungs of the planet, from ranching for hamburger meat for that matter. THAT's an issue...

Anti-whaling protests are a total waste of energy. A red herring, you might say, when there are so many more serious issues to deal with. Sea Shepherd are egotistical, petulant, attention-seeking troublemakers and the Aussie PM should put whaling at the very bottom of his inbox.

Honestly

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

Sea Shepherd are egotistical, petulant, attention-seeking troublemakers and the Aussie PM should put whaling at the very bottom of his inbox.

Sea Shepherd is the only organisation that has stopped the whales from becoming extinct. Without their intervention Japan would've had free rein. They should be applauded, not condemned

2 ( +4 / -2 )

frontandcentreDEC. 17, 2015 - 03:06PM JST Whatever the moral arguments, anyone worrying about a few getting shot at has their priorities totally wrong.

(A few? You might want review the definition of "a few")

Save the tuna, I say - that's a much more relevant issue to put your energies into. Or save the Amazonian rainforest, the lungs of the planet, from ranching for hamburger meat for that matter. THAT's an issue...

( I agree that the other topics you mentioned are important AS WELL, however if you're concerned about the lungs of the planet, the ocean supplies more oxygen than those rain forest. Whales are the largest creatures in the ocean and they happened to regulate the smallest creatures, phytoplankton & zooplankton. Some whales eat 9000 pounds of plankton a day and since phytoplankton actually create more oxygen than any other life form, you should be concerned with their balance in the food chain.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I would like to see the Australian PM asked by Abe, 'so if you wanted to catch whales under the IWC framework, how would you go about it differently?'

The Australians and New Zealanders don't want whales caught. So, they should quit the IWC, because it is for catching whales.

As for instigating a trade war over this, Japan is the third largest economy in the world. New Zealand and Australia would be in recession big time I they wanted to pick a fight over food culture. Never going to happen.

It's just posturing.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Japan might be important to Australia's economy - but on the other hand Australia is just as important to Japan. THis one goes both ways

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Japan is defying a ruling from the international court of justice, which makes them nothing more than poachers.

No they aren't. Please actually read the ruling. It required Japan to stop issuing permits under the JARPAII plan. It DID NOT declare scientific research as illegal. In fact it clearly contemplated a resumption of scientific whaling in the Southern Ocean and gave guidance on writing a new acceptable plan.

In fact, it is well known that the Japanese and the Norwegians are notorious for having a penchant for whale hunting.

So it is a 'cultural' thing in Norway and Japan?

the illegal Japanese whaling fleet

What illegal whaling fleet would that be? The Southern Ocean and Northern Pacific fleets are conducting legal hunts.

Sea Shepherd is the only organisation that has stopped the whales from becoming extinct. Without their intervention Japan would've had free rein.

The whales aren't in danger of going extinct. Saying that Sea Shepherd had any effect on that would be like saying that little old ladies have prevented the extinction of house cats. And before the Sea Shepherds intervention Japan stayed within the limits of their permits, so there is no reason to believe they would do any different now.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

The Southern Ocean and Northern Pacific fleets are conducting legal hunts.

For research with the purpose of resuming commercial whaling, for food that no-one save a few oyaji would miss if it were to disappear from menus. Are you saying that's what you're defending?

And before the Sea Shepherds intervention Japan stayed within the limits of their permits

Japan issues its own permits. They certainly don't have any from the IWC. How convenient

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Dom Palmer:

Do you really believe Japan actually has to kill each and every whale to do research on them? What is Japan's interest in whales anyway, and how long do the need to continue "researching" before they have learned enough? Fact is, more can be learned scientifically from whales through non lethal means, only the smallest percentage would need to be killed for research.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

What is Japan's interest in whales anyway

Using them as a naturally renewable food resource, is it not?

and how long do the need to continue "researching" before they have learned enough?

For as long as they want to use them as a naturally renewable food resource, one would think that they would need to have up-to-date scientific knowledge of the whale population they are using?

only the smallest percentage would need to be killed for research

Not sure what the point of that is though. Japan's aim is to use them as a renewable food resource. They aren't studying them for rocket science studies.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

@fxagi

For as long as they want to use them as a naturally renewable food resource

Do you really believe Japan needs whale meat as a food source? Do you know many Japanese who regular eat or want to eat whale meat? Most find it distasteful and too rich/strong - it's a very 'gamey' meat.

Search Google 'why Japan wants to hunt whales' and you will find a common understanding; to prevent losing fishing rights on other species (namely tuna).

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Are you saying that's what you're defending?

I believe what I said was in plain enough English that it was easily understandable. The Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean and the Northern Pacific are legal. That statement neither defends or attacks anything, merely states a fact.

Japan issues its own permits. They certainly don't have any from the IWC. How convenient

The ICRW Article VIII gives member countries the authority to issue scientific permits. It DOES NOT give the IWC the authority to issue scientific permits. So to preform scientific whaling requires a permit from a country and not from the IWC. But no matter who the permits were from, Japan stayed within the limits of the permits.

Do you really believe Japan actually has to kill each and every whale to do research on them?

I believe, as does the IWC Scientific Committee that some of the data Japan collects can ONLY be collected by lethal means. And I believe the statistics set out in the research plan which calculates the required sample size. Do you have proof that the Japanese statistical math is invalid?

What is Japan's interest in whales anyway,

Food

and how long do the need to continue "researching" before they have learned enough?

Well they believe they have learned enough to prove that a commercial hunt of Antarctic Minke whales is viable, which is one of the main goals of their research. But the IWC keeps saying they don't have enough data to evaluate the status of Antarctic Minke whales. So it appears your question needs to be directed to the IWC.

Fact is, more can be learned scientifically from whales through non lethal means, only the smallest percentage would need to be killed for research.

Really? Any facts to back that claim up for the data Japan is collecting?

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

“Japan’s hunt is not scientific research, it’s nothing more than commercial whaling, and it’s been declared ill" egal by the International Court of Justice (ICJ),” said Greenpeace Australia Pacific Oceans campaigner Nathaniel Pelle.

Liar. IJC never declared anything legal OR illegal. The ICJ has no such jurisdiction. They judged the Jarpa II program as not meeting the standards of solely scientific whaling. Now Japan has started the Jarpa III program which is designed to meet those standards. Villification through lying about ANY subject is designed not to resolve an issue but to increase emotional reaction and hostility.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Japan awarding itself research permits is morally dubious at best.

As I so simply explained the IWC is set up for member countries to issue themselves research permits because the IWC itself CAN'T issue them. So are you saying the entire IWC is morally dubious?

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Don Palmer: "(What is Japan's interest in whales anyway,) Food"

So, you admit it's not for science, and is therefore illegal. Well done.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

igloobuyer,

Do you really believe Japan needs whale meat as a food source?

It's not a matter of need, it's a matter of what Japan's policy is. Japan's policy is determined by it's democratically elected government and bureaucracy.

And the policy is consistent with the IWC, which is supposed to allow for whales to be caught.

Do you know many Japanese who regular eat or want to eat whale meat? Most find it distasteful and too rich/strong - it's a very 'gamey' meat.

Iceland's whalers have found a market for the meat here - saw some in the supermarket the other day. Whether foreigners know Japanese people who eat whale (or will admit to excitable anti-whaling foreigners that they do) is not relevant.

Search Google 'why Japan wants to hunt whales' and you will find a common understanding; to prevent losing fishing rights on other species (namely tuna).

That's very logical. Japan agreeing to not catch an arbitrary species of non-endangered marine resources could definitely create a precedent for other species to not be caught, even where it could be done on a sustainable basis.

smithinjapan,

So, you admit it's not for science, and is therefore illegal. Well done.

Whether Japan's activity is research or not is evidently debatable.

But generally speaking, if a country wishes to use marine resources on a sustainable basis, one would think they should be conducting ongoing scientific research to inform the related decision making (how many can be caught, etc).

Can anyone point at a marine resource that is utilised on a sustainable basis without any scientific work to inform the management of those resources? I certainly can't think of any example - indeed given some unsustainable practices going on it should be clear that more ongoing scientific research is required.

I suspect that people just don't like the notion of whales being food, and hence have a bias towards dismissing Japan's activities as not being research. But I also suspect that Japan already has ample scientific information to be able to confidently catch some minke whales without endangering them. So Japan should quit the IWC, since the IWC has not given it a catch quota in some 30 or so years.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

@fxgai. Democratically elected government? I highly doubt it. As Smith in Japan has pointed out, if it's not for science, which is what Japan is telling the world, then it's illegal. One story for the world, another for the people

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

If you disagree the government of Japan is democratically elected, we'll have to disagree on that. So far as I can tell, whaling is a non-issue in Japan, and all political parties appear to be in favour of it.

Australia can't do much about that, except complain and moan about it.

As Smith in Japan has pointed out, if it's not for science, which is what Japan is telling the world, then it's illegal.

That's right. But see my comments above.

How could Japan have whaling without scientific knowledge?

Conversely, if there is already enough scientific knowledge, why isn't the IWC permitting Japan to catch whales already, as per the founding vision of the IWC?

Either way, Japan gets to catch whales. Checkmate to Japan.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Again. Why hunt whales if there are no viable benefits to doing so?

There are of course viable benefits. It is a source of animal protein, that is widely on sale in supermarkets and even canned, in convenience stores. I ate some last night and found it at least as palatable, and believe it to have resulted in less suffering than, my usual evening meal. https://www.flickr.com/photos/nihonbunka/23177838444/in/photostream https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Gg7rSZsxsU

0 ( +4 / -4 )

@fxgai

Iceland's whalers have found a market for the meat here - saw some in the supermarket the other day.

This is an interesting one... the Icelandic company, Hvalur, which exports whale meat to Japan is massively undercutting Japan's own whale meat. Think about the ridiculous costs involved for the Japanese govt to send a factory fleet to Antarctica to arbitrarily hunt far more whales than they have the demand for... financially speaking, it's completely unviable and a complete waste of taxpayers' money. Hvalur is based in Iceland and conducts hunts around Iceland, and is able to sell the meat far cheaper than Japan even with the export costs. There is already far more whale meat than demand in Japan, so this extra supply from Iceland makes the govt hunting program even more wasteful. One more thing to note... the meat from Hvalur is fin whale, not minke, and fin are classified as endangered. I doubt those who eat it give a shit.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Let Japan have its own whale hunting. World really should worry about terrorist or environment issue than fish. As long Other country keep its own fisherman from whaling. It wont be depleted. Just japan do the whaling. Solved and simple.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Um no. A total waste. Hunting for the sake of hunting is an abomination

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Dom Palmer: Really? Any facts to back that claim up for the data Japan is collecting? Yes, here are just a few.

Alternitives to scientific whaling

In an era of DNA sampling and remote monitoring, scientists do not need to kill whales to learn about them. Samples can be collected from skin that whales shed, blubber and fecal matter. Scientists can even collect samples when whales exhale through their blowholes, allowing for detection of pathogens.

Determining vital whale population estimates and trends can only be achieved through sighting surveys and other benign research techniques such as the photo-identification of individual animals and acoustic surveys.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Yoshitsune,

I doubt anyone here is an expert on the commercial viability of it, but indeed if the government is wasting money by funding this, it's another reason for them to quit the IWC, and unilaterally grant sustainable commercial whaling quotas to fishing companies, instead of funding the research operation.

If it stands on it's own two feet, fine; if not, it will die out. So I don't know why those against the practice don't just "call Japan's bluff" here and agree to end the moratorium, if they really believe that it isn't commercially viable. That they do not take this action makes me suspect that they don't believe their own words.

the meat from Hvalur is fin whale, not minke, and fin are classified as endangered.

I have read that the particular fin whales around Iceland are not, where as those in the Southern Ocean are. If it's true then I don't have a problem with Iceland doing what they are doing. I'm for free, sustainable trade, and Iceland could use the export income after their financial crisis.

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indeed if the government is wasting money by funding this

There's no 'if' about it really. It's no secret that the Japanese govt is spending far more than it recoups on whaling. It's covered in the national budget. The government pays for the Antarctic operation, to the tune of billions of yen per year. It is clearly commercially unviable, as with so much of the meat ending up frozen in warehouses it fails to recoup its costs, never mind making any profit. This is why Japanese "research" whale meat is three times more expensive than imported whale meat from Iceland. If the funding stopped, the Antarctic whaling would stop; no company would dream of keeping it going at such loss.

If they just stuck to coastal whaling at an appropriate level to supply the low levels of demand (like Norway does), then perhaps the whaling industry would die out, or perhaps it would continue to exist on its own two feet - but likely in a greatly diminished form.

The Southern Ocean "scientific" whaling is just destruction for no sound reason, a complete waste of taxes which lines the pockets of a few amakudari nationalist oyaji.

I don't know why those against the practice don't just "call Japan's bluff" here and agree to end the moratorium

Perhaps they should.

I have read that the particular fin whales around Iceland are not, where as those in the Southern Ocean are. If it's true then I don't have a problem with Iceland doing what they are doing. I'm for free, sustainable trade, and Iceland could use the export income after their financial crisis.

I looked into that a while back. The fin is globally endangered; the population around Iceland is not classified at the most severe level, but it isn't classified as healthy. The fin whale catch around Iceland for the last few years has been at a level considered by the IWC to be three times greater than would be sustainable, so perhaps you should think again about not having a problem with what Iceland is doing. As for "what Iceland is doing", it isn't Iceland the country doing it; it's a single Icelandic company owned by a single Icelandic billionaire who is pro-whaling. He doesn't have a market for fin whaling in Iceland (small-scale coastal minke whalers cover that), so he's undercutting the Japanese market... ironically enough for Japan, given that the only reason that that is possible is that they took out a reservation to international trade in whale meat under CITES. As for Iceland's financial crisis, their economy is recovering well and exporting a few thousand tonnes of whale meat to Japan doesn't make much difference to their national economy anyway.

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So, you admit it's not for science, and is therefore illegal. Well done.

Please read what is written and not what you want to see.

Their INTEREST in whales is for food. To fulfill that interest they need the IWC to review Antarctic Minke whales status and determine if the species can sustain commercial whaling. For the IWC to perform their review they require data. To collect data requires scientific whaling. Scientific whaling is legal.

if it's not for science, which is what Japan is telling the world, then it's illegal

And as has been pointed out to you. To hunt whales strictly for food commercially requires the IWC to review their status under the moratorium. To conduct the review requires data, which they claim they don't have enough. To collect data requires scientific research. Scientific research whaling is legal.

to arbitrarily hunt

It isn't arbitrary, it is governed by a written plan with goals and limits.

financially speaking, it's completely unviable and a complete waste of taxpayers' money.

Could well be. Governments often chose to fund activities that aren't financially viable for any number of reasons. But all the more reason for the IWC to lift the moratorium as it applies to Antarctic Minke whales. Then their would be no reason for the government to fund more research. The commercial whalers could use the quota issued by the IWC and if it wasn't financially viable they wouldn't bother to travel to the Southern Ocean to hunt whales. A win for everyone.

@Stuart haywood. And just how do you tell the age of the whale from these methods? Or their reproductive health? Or age at sexual maturity? All of this data is required to determine if and at what level a species can be sustainably hunted.

it isn't Iceland the country doing it; it's a single Icelandic company

And that company can only hunt whales with a permit issued by the Icelandic government and at a level set by the Icelandic government. So yes it is 'Iceland the country'.

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It isn't arbitrary, it is governed by a written plan with goals and limits

The number is arbitrary; it has no connection to the level of supply. Given that the hunt has failed to produce any peer-reviewed scientific evidence, it's no good to claim that the number is a scientifically determined sample size. This isn't scientific hunting, it's commercial hunting pretending to be scientific. To hunt 333 minke whales when there isn't the supply to justify that number is arbitrary.

Then their would be no reason for the government to fund more research. The commercial whalers could use the quota issued by the IWC and if it wasn't financially viable they wouldn't bother to travel to the Southern Ocean to hunt whales. A win for everyone.

Indeed. Except for those politicians who are presently lining their pockets and playing the whole thing for nationalist votes.

that company can only hunt whales with a permit issued by the Icelandic government and at a level set by the Icelandic government. So yes it is 'Iceland the country'.

The Icelandic government isn't bankrolling the fin whale hunt; so no, it isn't Iceland the country. Yes, they're permitting the hunt; but no, they're not conducting it.

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It's no secret that the Japanese govt is spending far more than it recoups on whaling.

Yes, and ironically opponents still argue that it's "commercial whaling". A government funded, loss making operation is more likely to be a scientific research programme than it is a commercial one.

It is clearly commercially unviable, as with so much of the meat ending up frozen in warehouses it fails to recoup its costs, never mind making any profit.

Food getting frozen isn't such an unusual thing, but if the government weren't running the operation, can you say with certainty that the private sector wouldn't do better?

The fin whale catch around Iceland for the last few years has been at a level considered by the IWC to be three times greater than would be sustainable

Can't say I'm aware of that, but if IWC considers some level of whaling to be sustainable, I do think the IWC should have set catch limits for the Icelandic whalers already. Better they do sooner than later, if Iceland's catch levels truly are unsustainable.

Although Japan is wasting money on it's research whaling, it's also the case that it is wasting money by participating in the IWC at all, since it isn't doing what it is supposed to.

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So the only thing to do then...is stop whaling

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A government funded, loss making operation is more likely to be a scientific research programme than it is a commercial one

I would say it's more likely to be one big boondoggle.

if the government weren't running the operation, can you say with certainty that the private sector wouldn't do better?

I don't think the private sector would send a fleet to Antartica to hunt 333 whales when they could meet the demand by hunting fewer than that in the waters around Japan. What logical reason is there for anyone to do that? It really is nothing more than the ICR justifying its own existence and keeping the amakudari yen flowing its way.

As for the Icelandic angle, if the Japanese govt really wants to protect their whaling industry and keep it going, they need to stop their market from being flooded with this cheaper meat from Iceland; that is a bigger danger to Japanese whaling than anything Australia or Sea Shepherd or any other anti-whalers are saying or doing - Japan should withdraw its reservation to trade in whale meat under CITES, or they will find that their "scientific" program is losing even more money than ever before.

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Dom Palmer: @Stuart haywood. And just how do you tell the age of the whale from these methods? Or their reproductive health? Or age at sexual maturity? All of this data is required to determine if and at what level a species can be sustainably hunted.

Determining the age of most creatures including humans, is an estimate based on a collective of past physical tendencies. Even when a forensic team has a complete human body to study, they can only estimate their exact age, it's not like the divinities reading of the rings of a tree or the rattles of a rattle snake. That being said, we already know enough physical tendencies about whales, to determine an estimated age through non lethal means.

As for reproductive health, it can clearly be seen through observing and documenting their numbers and ages, there is no need to kill each one to figure that out.

Sexual maturity? Maybe you haven't noticed but the male whale has the largest sexual organs of any creature, maybe you have a hard time telling the difference of a human adolescent male from an adult?

What ever the case, most of your questions have already been answered by true pioneering research by the likes of Jacques Cousteau and others.

Substanable hunting? I though it wasn't hunting but only research?

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The number is arbitrary;

No it isn't. The number is based on the well understand math of statistical sampling.

Given that the hunt has failed to produce any peer-reviewed scientific evidence

And that is wrong. Multiple peer-reviewed scientific papers have been produced and the IWC's Scientific Committee has consistently said the collected data is useful.

To hunt 333 minke whales when there isn't the supply to justify that number is arbitrary.

Based on the data the IWC has and the IWC's method for calculating sustainable hunting levels the Antarctic Minke whale "supply" is large enough to sustain an annual hunt of over 2000.

it's not like the divinities reading of the rings of a tree or the rattles of a rattle snake

Actually it kind of is.

'Techniques include counting growth layers in the whale's teeth (odontocetes) or waxy ear plugs or auditory bones (mysticetes).

In addition, chemical signals can also help estimate the age of whales. This technique, involving changes in aspartic acid in the lens of the whale's eye, has been used to estimate the age of dolphins and fin and bowhead whales.'

Substanable hunting? I though it wasn't hunting but only research?

I clearly wrote to determine if and at what level a species can be sustainably hunted. So again, as I clearly wrote, they are doing research to collect data TO DETERMINE if and at what level Antarctic Minke whales can be sustainably commercially hunted.

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Dom Palmer:

The chief scientist for the Australian Antarctic Division, Nick Gales, says his team of scientists has discovered a way of using DNA samples from the whale's skin to determine the animals age.

They have demonstrated that it is not only workable, it's a MORE accurate and MORE reliable method that the ear plug method and of course it's vastly more straightforward to collect the data.

So there is another method that is more accurate at determining their age and it doesn't require killing the whale!

Are you now going to add to the list, that we also need to study their brain function, neron pathway network, and kill them just so we can kill more?

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No it isn't. The number is based on the well understand math of statistical sampling.

No it isn't. It's based on the fact the ICJ told them to stop JARPII (sample 1,000) so they made JARPIII (sample 333). Completely arbitrary, and if you reckon it's based on statistical sampling please show me the mathematical workings by which the figure was arrived at (I don't think those workings exist). I think that they've just used the ICJ ruling to reduce the sample size to something closer to what they have the actual demand for in a way which saves face by still appearing to be defiant.

Given that the hunt has failed to produce any peer-reviewed scientific evidence

And that is wrong. Multiple peer-reviewed scientific papers have been produced and the IWC's Scientific Committee has consistently said the collected data is useful.

No they haven't. They produced two peer-reviewed scientific papers in the entire history of the "scientific" hunts. If you want to insist there are more than that, please provide the relevant links. I don't think they exist.

Based on the data the IWC has and the IWC's method for calculating sustainable hunting levels the Antarctic Minke whale "supply" is large enough to sustain an annual hunt of over 2000.

That may or may not be true. Whether or not that is true is irrelevant to the sample size of 333 whales being an arbitrarily selected number. They don't have the demand to hunt 333 whales and they don't have the demand to hunt 2,000 whales. The point is not to arbitrarily hunt whatever the population can handle, regardless of whether you actually need to hunt that many to meet your demand; it's to hunt what you have the demand for without adversely affecting the population.

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So there is another method that is more accurate at determining their age and it doesn't require killing the whale!

No, one scientists claims to have a new method and my understanding is the method has only been tried on one species of whale and on a very limit number of samples. Of course if you want you can provide the actual research paper that shows otherwise. Meanwhile the IWC's Scientific Committee agrees that some of the data collected by Japan can only be collected with lethal methods.

Are you now going to add to the list

No reason to add to the list as you have only addressed one of things I already listed. I also never said it was an exhaustive list.

No it isn't.

Yes it is. The numbers have changed from JARPAII because they have changed their error range and some of the goals. If their math was invalid then the scientists who are against whaling would attack the math which would be a simple proof.

No they haven't.

Yes they have.

They produced two peer-reviewed scientific papers in the entire history of the "scientific" hunts.

Just a bit more than two.

http://www.icrwhale.org/JARPA91paper.html

Whether or not that is true is irrelevant to the sample size of 333 whales being an arbitrarily selected number.

But it is relevant when the comment was made in response to the comment "when there isn't the supply to justify that number".

it's to hunt what you have the demand for without adversely affecting the population.

No. If conducting scientific research then it is the required sample size. Demand would only be a consideration for a commercial hunt.

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That list is from the Japanese govt's Institue of Cetacian Research. The ICR does indeed claim to have published hundreds of papers. However, "The vast majority are either unpublished or appeared in reports for the IWC, not journals that peer review papers before publishing them."

(Quoted from this article: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/sep/18/the-truth-about-the-peer-reviewed-science-produced-by-japans-whaling)

According to the International Court of Justice when ruling against JARPII, Japan's scientific whaling has produced two peer-reviewed scientific papers. I for one trust the ICJ more than I trust the ICR.

If conducting scientific research then it is the required sample size. Demand would only be a consideration for a commercial hunt.

That's a big if. They aren't conducting scientific research; they're pretending to. And the quote you've taken from my post was in response to your statement about sustainability based on the IWC's data, not in response to anything you said about scientific sample size. It doesn't matter that the Antarctic minke population can sustainably be hunted to the tune of 2,000 whales a year (and I'm perfectly prepared to accept that that is true), given that Japan doesn't consume anywhere near the combined amount of meat that 2,000 Antartic minke would yield, plus the hundreds of minke hunted by coastal whaling towns, plus the fin whale meat being imported from Iceland.

Again, sending a factory fleet to Antarctica to kill a number of whales that has no relation to the amount of whale meat consumed while pretending to make a scientific study of them is just one massive boondoggle, the ICR justifying its existence and keeping the amakudari yen flowing into its pockets. A total utter waste of animal life and total utter waste of Japanese taxpayers' money. Japan could cancel its "scientific" program and still easily meet its low demand for whale meat through the coastal whaling of the few towns that still conduct it (Taiji, Ayukawa, Kushiro), resulting in fewer pointlessly dead whales lying frozen in warehouses and less money pointlessly spent putting them there.

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Dom Palmer:

If you want to see research papers, there are plenty but less than 1 percent of the papers published on cetacean biology come from studies that required the killing of a whale.

As for the IWC agreeing that SOME of the data collected by Japan can only be done through lethal means, I agree and admitted before. That doesn't mean that 333 whales have to be killed each year, every year, with no end in sight.

I did address each previous question you asked, you just chose it ignore them and focused on one, so I responded to that topic of alternatives to killing whales to determine age.

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According to the International Court of Justice when ruling against JARPII, Japan's scientific whaling has produced two peer-reviewed scientific papers. I for one trust the ICJ more than I trust the ICR.

If you are going to trust the ICJ then maybe you should actually read what the ICJ wrote and not what someone else told you they wrote. They did NOT say that Japan's scientific whaling has produced only two peer-reviewed scientific papers. And they did say;

"As to the criterion of peer review advanced by Australia, even if peer review of proposals and results is common practice in the scientific community, it does not follow that a programme can be said to involve scientific research only if the proposals and the results are subjected to peer review."

I for one trust what the ICJ actually wrote.

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They wrote an awful lot more than that well-chosen (one might say cherry-picked) little snippet you've quoted there. And by far the most important part of what they wrote was that Japan's killing of whales was not for the purposes of scientific research. My bringing up the almost complete lack of peer-reviewed scientific papers was to illustrate what a poor return the Japanese taxpayer has received on the huge amount of their money that has poured down this particular drain; but the whole debate does not hinge upon whether or not "a programme can be said to involve scientific research only if the proposals and the results are subjected to peer review". IF that were the case, the ICJ would not have ruled against Japan's whaling programme. So if you trust what the ICJ actually wrote, why are you arguing the opposite here?

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They wrote an awful lot more than that well-chosen (one might say cherry-picked) little snippet you've quoted there.

Yes they did write a whole lot more. But the term peer-reviewed (which I did not bring up) only appears 6 times and 3 of them are in that relevant snippet I've quoted. The others are, where they state that Australia believes research has to involve peer-review, hence why they explain why it DOESN'T; then they explain that the ICRW DOESN'T say that research has to involve peer-review although it doesn't preclude it; and lastly where they discuss Japan's submission.

My bringing up the almost complete lack of peer-reviewed scientific papers was to illustrate what a poor return the Japanese taxpayer has received on the huge amount of their money that has poured down this particular drain

My response was to bring up that producing peer-reviewed papers isn't a metric of whether the money/time spent on research was appropriate. And to point out the fact that the ICJ DID NOT write that Japan has only produced 2 peer-reviewed papers.

IF that were the case, the ICJ would not have ruled against Japan's whaling programme.

That conclusion is invalid. The fact that the ICJ wrote that peer-review isn't required, in no way means that a programme without peer-review is valid research. It plainly just means that only looking for peer-review is inappropriate.

So if you trust what the ICJ actually wrote, why are you arguing the opposite here?

I am not. I am trying to put what the ICJ ACTUALLY wrote and not what has been reported as being in their ruling by people who obviously have never bothered to read the ruling.

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the ICJ DID NOT write that Japan has only produced 2 peer-reviewed papers

Accepted.

IF that were the case, the ICJ would not have ruled against Japan's whaling programme.

That conclusion is invalid. The fact that the ICJ wrote that peer-review isn't required, in no way means that a programme without peer-review is valid research. It plainly just means that only looking for peer-review is inappropriate.

Indeed. That was not my conclusion; my very point was that such a conclusion would be invalid as the whole debate does not hinge on the matter of peer-review. You missed a crucial clause out of the quote you took from my post. I said:

"the whole debate does not hinge upon whether or not "a programme can be said to involve scientific research only if the proposals and the results are subjected to peer review". IF that were the case..."

The whole debate does not hinge upon... IF that were the case... i.e. we are in agreement that only looking for peer-review is inappropriate. And no-one - not Australia, not the ICJ, and not I - was only looking for peer-review. All this nitpicking aside, my point remains that sending a fleet to Antarctica to kill a number of whales that far exceeds the demand for whale meat is just one massive boondoggle, for the ICR to justify its existence and justify the flow of amakudari yen from the taxpayer. A complete waste of animal life and complete waste of money (especially when there are rather more pressing things it could be used for). Japan could cancel its Antartic programme and still easily meet its low demand for whale meat through the coastal whaling conducted in Taiji, Ayukawa, and Kushiro, which would mean fewer pointlessly dead whales and less money wasted. They don't have any need to scientifically prove that the Antarctic minke population can sustain the loss of thousands of whales a year (as it probably could), because they don't eat anything near that number and they could easily cover their demand without sending a fleet all the way down there. It's just one big fat boondoggle.

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They don't have any need to scientifically prove that the Antarctic minke population can sustain the loss of thousands of whales a year (as it probably could), because they don't eat anything near that number and they could easily cover their demand without sending a fleet all the way down there. It's just one big fat boondoggle.

Well except that their research has shown that the Antarctic Minke whales have significantly less toxins in them than do whales caught in the waters near Japan, even less than much of the seafood caught near Japan. Probably to a large part because of pollution from all the coal fired power plants in China.

So if catching whales to meet the demand at whatever level exists (as long as it is sustainable) is acceptable. Then from a public health standpoint it would be better to catch those whales by sending a fleet all the way down there and NOT do any whaling close to Japan. Also the J-stock of Common Minke whales found around Japan has been depleted by whaling, ship strikes and bycatch in fishing equipment. The J-stock is also much smaller than the Antarctic stock, with estimates of the J-stock population being 20 times lower than Antarctica. So meeting all the demand from the J-stock may not be sustainable.

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