AnimuX comments

Posted in: Watson accuses Japan of coercing other countries to demand his arrest See in context

With millions in official development assistance money from Japan going to Costa Rica ($317 million from 2007-2011), it's no surprise that CR has made Paul Watson a target.

CR won't attempt to extradite a US citizen -- guilty of hit and run that seriously injured a pedestrian -- but will sure as hell attempt to arrest Watson on behalf of Japan.

Criminals can brazenly threaten or kill activists in Costa Rica too. Celebrity Gordon Ramsay was held at gun point and doused with gasoline by criminal shark fin smugglers in Costa Rica -- and the authorities simply advised him to flee the country. More recently, activist Jairo Mora Sandoval was murdered by turtle poachers and his body was dumped on a Costa Rican beach as a message to others.

So Watson attempted to stop Costa Rican shark poaching and later Japanese whale poaching and now two corrupt governments are abusing international extradition treaties to get him.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

Posted in: Anti-whaling activist Watson tells U.S. court: 'We're not pirates' See in context

The U.S. government officially stands against Japan's ongoing whaling and has since the 1980s. In fact, in 1988, President Ronald Reagan enacted economic sanctions against Japan, over the very same controversial whaling in the Southern Ocean, according to U.S. domestic law.

The whaling has been certified to be 'purposely diminishing the effectiveness of international conservation programs' by multiple U.S. Secretaries of Commerce making it an offense under current U.S. law, punishable by economic sanctions.

So, quite literally, Japan's government sponsored whale poaching operation has come to the United States and demanded the courts suppress protest against whaling that is officially condemned by the U.S. government and U.S. law.

Amazingly, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is frequently overturned by the Supreme Court of the U.S., has attempted to redefine international anti-piracy law, to criminalize eco-activists, in favor of Japan's whaling which is officially condemned by the USA.

Watson, and Sea Shepherd USA, must deal with the ongoing legal drudgery. Sea Shepherd Australia is a foreign organization -- the ships involved are not U.S. flagged vessels -- and the direct action taken by these foreign activists occurred in international waters -- in other words, outside of U.S. jurisdiction. Meanwhile, Japan's state funded whale poachers continue wasting even more tax money on an already internationally prohibited boondoggle entirely for the benefit of corrupt officials in Japan's government.

Furthermore, the Associated Press article is incorrect in stating the International Whaling Commission allows Japan to kill whales. In fact, the opposite is true.

The IWC has prohibited commercial whaling since 1986. Japan circumvents this prohibition by pretending to kill whales for scientific research. The IWC has repeatedly declared Japan's so-called 'research' to be unnecessary and flawed and has issued multiple official resolutions calling on Japan to stop killing whales. (IWC Resolution 2007-1, for example...)

Japan maintains it can kill as many whales as it likes under what its representatives argue is a loophole for science. However, other members of the IWC do not agree and Australia has even taken Japan to the International Court of Justice, accusing Japan of failing to adhere to the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling in good faith. The court has not yet returned with a decision on the case.

Considering Japan's long history of regulatory violations -- which includes exceeding quotas, ignoring size limits and species protections, hunting out of season and in off limits areas, and even hiring poachers in foreign countries to kill whales in secret (pirate whaling) -- it is dishonest to suggest that Japan is 'allowed' by the IWC to kill whales.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Posted in: Anti-whaling activist Watson tells U.S. court: 'We're not pirates' See in context

Unfortunately, pro-whaling antagonists don't like Paul Watson very much and in order to demonize him, they compare environmental activists -- who have never killed anyone, never taken anyone hostage, and never beaten anyone up for an environmental cause -- to violent terrorists who have purposely targeted people for murder.

The sad reality is, environmentalists are routinely murdered all over the world for merely speaking out, or acting to protect wildlife and habitat. Their killers are criminal poachers, smugglers, industry thugs, and sometimes even corrupt military and police.

You won't see those critics of Watson calling out the murderers of non-violent activists as terrorists. Why? Because they don't care. They'd simply rather see governments abuse power to suppress eco-protesters.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

Posted in: Sea Shepherd founder Watson skips bail in Germany over Japan extradition fear See in context

Fleeing from political persecution is both ethical and quite normal.

Seeking protection from such corrupt persecution is sometimes called seeking asylum.

Of course, Watson's extradition is a perfect example of political persecution -- Japan and Costa Rica are abusing international legal agreements in order to jail a foreign activist and legitimize the flouting of international conventions by imprisoning opposition -- all while ignoring the criminal organizations responsible for shark finning.

Shameful stuff really.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

Posted in: Sea Shepherd founder Watson skips bail in Germany over Japan extradition fear See in context

First of all, Sea Shepherd is not a vigilante group or terror group. They don't hunt down and punish people. They don't threaten to harm or kill people. Instead, they commit acts of civil disobedience, vandalism, and sabotage in order to interfere with cruel and destructive exploitation of marine life -- often where international protections and laws are being defied by poachers.

If you ram a Costa Rican boat smuggling illegal narcotics in Guatemalan waters does the government of Costa Rica let the drug smugglers go free while heaping charges on you even ten years after the incident? Does the government of Germany then assist Costa Rica in these matters?

Pay attention. The crew of the Varadero was poaching sharks for fins. Shark finning in Costa Rica is an enterprise dominated by organized crime. In fact, these criminals are so brazen they've even openly threatened the lives of environmentalists without fear of consequences or law enforcement. For example, the recent incident where Gordon Ramsay attempted to film shark finning operations and was confronted by gunmen who doused him in gasoline and threatened to kill him. Costa Rican police simply told Ramsay to flee the country for his own safety. THAT is what Sea Shepherd opposed in 2002 when it attempted to bring the Varadero to justice.

Of course, the news media has also failed to mention that Japan is one of the world's largest contributors of Official Development Assistance money to Costa Rica -- over $140 million USD from 2006-2010. Japan's whale poaching also happens to be the subject of Sea Shepherd protest and interference.

This entire fiasco is the political persecution of an activist who has done nothing more than attempt to uphold international conventions and prevent the unlawful and cruel destruction of protected and vulnerable species. It makes absolutely no sense for Germany to recognize Costa Rica's request for extradition.

The nature of protest hasn't changed. Anger the establishment and you become a target. How often are influential activist leaders charged as criminals and worse by governments? How many of them are incarcerated? How many die in prison or as a result of assassination? Paul Watson has good reason to avoid Costa Rican jails.

-3 ( +23 / -26 )

Posted in: Bardot offers to take whaling activist's place in prison See in context

How quickly the anti-environmentalists turn from opposing the 'tactics' of Paul Watson to opposing all free speech and protest for animal rights.

How predictable.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson arrested in Germany See in context

Anyone who sides against Watson on this is effectively supporting organized crime and poaching.

The Costa Rican flagged vessel intercepted and detained by Sea Shepherd was filmed illegally killing sharks in Guatemalan waters.

Of course, the incident that led to Watson's arrest was a ship collision in which nobody was killed -- because Sea Shepherd doesn't kill people. In three decades of direct action campaigns Sea Shepherd has never threatened to kill anyone.

Of course, that won't matter to pro-whaling anti-environmentalist types. If Watson had personally shut down a human trafficking ring or an illegal drug smuggling operation they would still cheer for his arrest.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Posted in: 3 Sea Shepherd activists detained aboard Japanese whaling vessel See in context

Seize the Shonan Maru 2 -- Rescue the activists -- Send the whale poachers and their Tokyo funded thug-force on a one-way flight home to Japan -- Use the SM2 for target practice and make a new artificial reef out of it.

Most people don't realize that this conflict did not start with sea-hippies throwing stink-bombs at whaling ships on TV.

The fact is Japan's whaling industry has historically violated size limits, species protections, seasonal limits, sanctuary boundaries, all manner of quotas, and even facilitated "pirate whaling" (front companies in foreign countries killing whales illegally and smuggling the unreported meat back to Japan).

The latest abuse of a loophole intended for science is merely the continuation of a long pattern of criminal behavior on the part of Japan's whalers and the amakudari (corrupt officials) who ensure their business partners in the internationally prohibited industry receive government funded subsidies.

-13 ( +9 / -21 )

Posted in: Huge waves damage Sea Shepherd boat during chase See in context

One comment implies that Sea Shepherd should be sued by the family of Steve Irwin over the name of its flagship.

However, the real Steve Irwin was, in fact, impressed with Sea Shepherd and planned to campaign with them. He even envisioned the SSCS boats using a giant 'can opener' to disable the Japanese whaling ships.

The Irwin family has been very publicly supportive of Sea Shepherd and other environmental groups.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Tsunami refugees dig in for harsh winter See in context

30 million dollars in funds that could have been used to help these survivors has instead been diverted to an internationally prohibited industry (whaling) for the benefit of amakudari and their business partners.

The people of Japan should demand an apology from the government for its corrupt dealings and failure to provide all available resources to help the victims of this tragedy.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan whaling authorities sue Sea Shepherd in U.S. See in context

At least one response alleges that Minke whales are eating too many krill and that whales are eating too many fish.

There is no scientific support for this argument and, in fact, scientists have debunked such claims before.

1) DNA research shows that minke whales always had a large population in the Southern Ocean.

2) All of the minke whales alive today in the Southern Ocean represent less than 1% of the biomass that was present BEFORE the world's whalers drove every other large species of whale to the brink of extinction.

3) The largest whales mostly consume krill and copepods and small fish away from important fisheries in polar seas.

4) Krill are somewhat dependent on large whales as part of their life cycle. The whales spread nutrients (ie: fertilize) the oceans with iron rich excrement which in turn promotes phytoplankton and algae growth which in turn becomes the base of the food web for krill and copepods and so on.

However, there is ample evidence that commercial fishing has over-exploited most fisheries and many are at risk of commercial extinction if restrictions (and in some cases bans) are not soon enforced.

Unfortunately, whaling represents the ultimate failure of international conservation efforts due to the subversive acts of nations like Japan and others which defy and undermine the decisions of the International Whaling Commission.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Posted in: Japan whaling authorities sue Sea Shepherd in U.S. See in context

Unfortunately, pro-whalers believe that Japan may kill as many whales as it likes, including endangered species, even in an international wild life sanctuary, no matter how many objections are raised or the fact that international conventions prohibit the act, just as long as Japan's representatives claim the whaling is done for science.

The International Whaling Commission has repeatedly called upon Japan to stop killing whales. The view of the commission is quite succinctly expressed in Resolution 2007-1:

Resolution 2007-1

RESOLUTION ON JARPA

WHEREAS paragraph 7(b) of the Schedule establishes a sanctuary in the Southern Ocean;

RECALLING that the Commission has repeatedly requested Contracting Parties to refrain from issuing special permits for research involving the killing of whales within the Southern Ocean Sanctuary, has expressed deep concern at continuing lethal research within the Southern Ocean Sanctuary, and has also recommended that scientific research involving the killing of cetaceans should only be permitted where critically important research needs are addressed;

CONSCIOUS that the Scientific Committee last year convened a workshop to analyse the results of JARPA 1, which is reported in SC/59/REP 1;

NOTING that the Workshop agreed that none of the goals of JARPA 1 had been reached, and that the results of the JARPA 1 programme are not required for management under the RMP;

FURTHER NOTING that the Government of Japan has authorised a new special permit programme in the Antarctic, JARPA II, in which the take of minke whales has been more than doubled, and fin whales and humpback whales have been added to the list of targeted species;

CONCERNED that fin whales in the Southern Hemisphere are currently classified as endangered, and that humpback whales in the JARPA II research area may include individuals from depleted breeding populations overwintering in the waters of certain Pacific Islands;

CONVINCED that the aims of JARPA II do not address critically important research needs;

NOW THEREFORE THE COMMISSION

CALLS UPON the Government of Japan to address the 31 recommendations listed in Appendix 4 of Annex O of the Scientific Committee report relating to the December 2006 review of the JARPA I programme to the satisfaction of the Scientific Committee;

FURTHER CALLS UPON the Government of Japan to suspend indefinitely the lethal aspects of JARPA II conducted within the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Posted in: Japan whaling authorities sue Sea Shepherd in U.S. See in context

The reality is the the International Whaling Commission has prohibited all commercial whaling and established the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary under Article V of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling -- by democratic decision.

Japan lost the vote on whaling.

So, in accordance with a long history of regulatory violations, Japan now abuses Article VIII (the science loophole) in order to purposely defy the regulations established under Article V.

The IWC has repeatedly called on Japan to stop killing whales.

This example of blatant subversion of democratic IWC decisions is in keeping with many other violations in the history of modern whaling which are ultimately responsible for driving so many species of whales to the brink of extinction.

In fact, Japan continues to hunt several vulnerable and endangered species as well.

The legality of Japan's abuse of Article VIII has been challenged and the International Court of Justice will hear arguments in coming years.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Posted in: Japan whaling authorities sue Sea Shepherd in U.S. See in context

Pro-whalers often claim that the rest of the world is "out to get" Japan for cultural, racial, and other conspiratorial reasons. These emotional claims of attacks from the western bogey-man are most often used to deflect any debate from legitimate objections to commercial whaling.

1) Nearly ever species of large whale was driven to the brink of extinction (some to less than 10% of their original numbers) by commercial whaling.

2) As a result the International Whaling Commission, in a democratic decision, prohibited all commercial whalng.

3) Japan's whalers have historically violated size limits, species protections, seasonal limits, quotas, and sanctuary boundaries.

4) Japan setup front companies in foreign countries (mostly though Taiyo fisheries) to kill whales outside of the IWC, without adhering to whaling regulations, and to smuggle the unreported meat to Japan. This is referred to as 'pirate whaling'.

5) Japan has abused Article VIII of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling to purposely defy whaling regulations established under Article V of the ICRW. Including the moratorium on commercial whaling and the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

6) The International Whaling Commission has repeatedly called on Japan to stop killing whales.

7) Scientists within and outside of the IWC have asserted that lethal research is not necessary for managing whale stocks and that non-lethal methods of study are sufficient.

8) There is no humane way to kill a mammal the size of a city bus.

9) The Norwegian methods of whaling used by Japan for mass production of whale meat are not 'traditional'. Neither is hunting whales in Antarctica.

10) Whale meat was only a 'substitute meat' during the post WWII recovery and when Japanese families could afford other meats they stopped purchasing whale. Today only a tiny fraction of the Japanese population eats whale meat.

11) The 'tradition' of whaling is historically limited to certain isolated coastal villages like Taiji. However, in other parts of Japan whales were considered sacred and never consumed -- a fact that is rarely mentioned by pro-whalers who like to pretend that all Japanese people were once whalers.

12) Whaling is not only economically insignificant, but is subsidized by the government of Japan in order to profit entrenched bureaucrats (amakudari) who often leave public office to take high paid jobs in the whaling industry they once oversaw.

13) And of course, there is the obvious fact that anti-whaling activists confronted the Soviet Union, Iceland, Norway, and even Australia long before ever focusing on or directly opposing whaling by Japan.

Considering these facts and the history of modern whaling it is clear that the "cultural imperialism" claims are simply emotional and irrational.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Posted in: Japan whaling authorities sue Sea Shepherd in U.S. See in context

One comment claims the Minke whale is not classified as endangered which is correct - overall.

However, Japanese whalers often take Minke whales from the J-stock which is quite vulnerable and objections have been repeatedly made concerning over exploitation of this stock near to Japan.

Also, the IUCN has data which suggests the Antarctic Minke whale population has declined as much as 50% over the last three generations which would classify the species as endangered. Currently the Antarctic Minke whale is designated as "data deficient" by the IUCN.

Of course, Japan also annually kills endangered Fin whales, endangered Sei whales, vulnerable Sperm whales, and Bryde's whales (population uncertain).

Japan also imports the meat of endangered Fin whales from Iceland and slaughters up to 20,000 dolphins including rare beaked whales.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Posted in: Japan whaling authorities sue Sea Shepherd in U.S. See in context

Unfortunately, pro-whalers often use emotional arguments when defending the whaling industry against critics and activists. They like to pretend that every ancestor of Japan was a whaler to support false claims that the rest of the world opposes Japanese whaling because of cultural bias.

It is true that Japan conducted organized whaling in the 1600s in isolated coastal villages like Taiji. There were many men in open boats with spears and nets who would hunt whales near shore with funding from wealthy individuals.

However, at the start of the 20th century, Juro Oka introduced Norwegian whaling methods, equipment, and even actual Norwegian whalers as crew to create the first modern whaling company in Japan. These non-traditional aspects of modern whaling were intended to mass produce whale oil and starting in the early 20th century that's exactly what Japanese whalers did -- they sold whale oil to western countries for margarine production.

Also, traditionally, Japan's whaling was conducted near shore in local waters. With the introduction of modern steel powered ships, harpoon canons, and factory ships with refrigeration, the whaling industry quickly exhausted local stocks and spread out as far as Antarctica. The culture of whaling was abandoned in favor of profitable, industrial, mass production.

Today, the industry has secured enough political support through amakudari and nationalist propaganda to use excuses like 'culture' as a defense for violating and subverting international conventions. The anti-whaling movement formed because the world's whaling industries (including Japan) had nearly wiped out every species of large whales.

Japan annually kills: Endangered Fin whales Endangered Sei whales Vulnerable Sperm whales Bryde's whales (population uncertain) Common Minke whales (many from the vulnerable J-stock) Antarctic Minke whales (IUCN data suggests this species may be in decline)

Not to mention the coastal slaughter of up to 20,000 dolphins (including rare beaked whales)

Or the fact that Japan acts as the world market for whale meat by importing endangered Fin whale from Iceland.

Or that Japan uses its economic power to influence developing nations with aid money in exchange for votes in the IWC.

Or that the International Whaling Commission has repeatedly called upon Japan to stop killing whales.

Only a tiny fraction of Japan's population actually consumes whale meat and without the inclusion of whale in school lunches by the government most Japanese children would never know the taste of whale. So much for tradition...

Whaling is not necessary for food security of economic prosperity within Japan or any industrialized nation. The industry only continues in order to profit a select few at the expense of national reputation and the subversion of international conservation efforts. Anti-whaling activists confronted the Soviet Union, Iceland, Norway, and even Australia long before working against Japanese whalers. Examination of the facts and history of modern whaling show that opposition to whaling is both legitimate and indiscriminate.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Posted in: Japan whaling authorities sue Sea Shepherd in U.S. See in context

What most people don't realize is this conflict did not begin recently with sea hippies throwing stink bombs at whalers on television. The fact is that Japan has a long history of violating and subverting international whaling regulations.

The anti-whaling movement began when people were more informed about whales and that most large whale species were being decimated by the world's commercial whaling industries. The first direct action was taken against the Soviet Union and Iceland, Norway, even Australia, and other countries were soon the focus of protest and resistance.

Historically, Japanese whalers have violated size limits, sanctuary boundaries, species protections, seasonal limits, all manner of quotas, and even facilitated pirate whaling (that's front companies - often setup by Taiyo fisheries - in foreign countries killing whales illegally in secret and smuggling the unreported meat to Japan).

In fact, the first time Japan abused the "research loophole" was in 1976 to blatantly defy another International Whaling Commission decision. The IWC declared Bryde's whales quotas would be reduced to zero and Japan responded by issuing itself a "special permit" and then killing over 200 Bryde's whales the following season.

So, the current abuse of the "research loophole" or Article VIII of the International Convention on the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW) is merely the latest incident in a long history of regulatory violations and criminal behavior.

The research itself has been disputed as unnecessary for the management of whale stocks undermining one of the primary excuses given by the ICR and Japanese representatives. Non-lethal methods of study are perfectly adequate and the IWC has repeatedly called upon Japan to stop killing whales.

Even the claims of interest in 'safety at sea' are entirely hollow considering video footage from Greenpeace campaigns against Japanese whaling before Sea Shepherd ever got involved. The recordings clearly show Japanese whalers firing their 80mm harpoon canons and sending explosive tipped projectiles flying just above the heads of Greenpeace activists who threw nothing but themselves between the whales and the whalers.

The lack of concern for safety was also displayed prominently and recently with the willful destruction of a small activist boat by the whalers' "security ship". Not to mention past industrial accidents which were unrelated to anti-whaling protest that claimed the lives of whalers at sea and risked environmental disaster.

Unfortunately, as explained by Jun Morikawa --author of Whaling in Japan: Power, Politics, and Diplomacy -- there are bureaucrats (or Amakudari) that expect to continue directing government subsidies to the commercial whaling industry through their fisheries budgets who often leave public office to take high paid jobs in that same commercial industry.

So, the government of Japan will predictably continue to waste tax dollars on an internationally prohibited trade despite the immediate concerns of the Japanese people. The waste includes overseas development aid to developing countries to buy influence in the International Whaling Commission -- propaganda efforts within and outside of Japan -- funding the slaughter of endangered and non-endangered whales near and far from Japan -- and now legal action against the activists who work to force an ultimate end to the condemned commercial whaling industry.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

Posted in: Japanese whaling: Why the West is in the wrong See in context

Occasionally, pro-whaling antagonists claim that the Antarctic sanctuary is somehow invalid, particularly with respect to Japan.

However, in 1994 the IWC democratically established the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary with the 2/3rds majority required.

http://www.iwcoffice.org/conservation/sanctuaries.htm

The claim that there is no scientific finding justifying the prohibition of commercial whaling in the Southern Ocean is ignorant of the last century of industrial exploitation which, according to Dr. Sidney Holt -- member of the IWC "Committee of Three" scientists from 1960-1985 -- reduced the whales to "crumbs left on the table after the feast."

More specifically, Dr. Holt explained that the "biomass of the still numerous minke whales is less than one percent of the biomass of the Southern Hemisphere baleen whales at the time Suarez reported to the League of Nations" -- referring to more than 80 previous years of whaling in the Southern Ocean.

It seems the science is clear on the Southern Ocean Sanctuary. The whale stocks there, with the possible exception of Minkes, have been over-exploited.

However, the International Union for Conservation of Nature also has data which suggests that the Antarctic Minke whale population has declined 50% over the last three generations -- which could classify the species as endangered.

Regardless, pro-whaling antagonists often express the belief that Article VIII of the ICRW exempts Japan from all other rules, regulations, and restrictions. The legality of Japan's abuse of Article VIII has been officially challenged and the International Court of Justice will hear arguments in coming years.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Posted in: Japanese whaling: Why the West is in the wrong See in context

Some pretend as if the Japanese whaling industry receives tacit approval from the International Whaling Commission.

However, this is most often the result of feigned ignorance or a fundamental lack of understanding the difference between the IWC and the 1946 International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW).

The ICRW gives the IWC the authority to regulate whaling (Article V)

The ICRW also contains a loophole intended for science (Article VIII)

Japan abuses Article VIII in order to purposely defy the regulations established under Article V - including the moratorium on commercial whaling and the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

Japan continues whaling as a unilateral action, issuing permits to Japanese whalers, determining quotas for Japanese whalers, without the express approval of the IWC.

In fact, the IWC has repeatedly called on Japan to stop killing whales and conduct "research" with non-lethal methods only.

To claim that Japan's whaling is "allowed" by the IWC is factually incorrect and misleading.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Posted in: Japanese whaling: Why the West is in the wrong See in context

As previously stated, article 65 of UNCLoS emphasizes conservation and effectively declares that, in the case of cetaceans, states shall work through the International Whaling Commission - the same commission which has prohibited all commercial whaling and repeatedly called upon Japan to stop killing whales.

Unfortunately, pro-whaling antagonists continue to make emotional arguments in defense of Japanese whaling as if international conventions have no meaning or significance.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Posted in: Japanese whaling: Why the West is in the wrong See in context

Many pro-whaling antagonists assert that Japan's abuse of Article VIII effectively exempts Japan from all decisions of the IWC and the existing regulations established by the ICRW and the Schedule to the ICRW.

In other words, they believe that as long as Japan claims to be killing whales for science that no other conditions, rules, or regulations apply.

They ignore the long history of previous regulatory violations as if it is somehow unrelated to current events.

Consider the way Japan first used Article VIII to sidestep the IWC decision to protect Bryde's whales in 1976. When the IWC declared Bryde's whales off-limits, Japan issued itself a science permit and proceeded to kill over 200 Bryde's whales the following season.

Japan's ongoing abuse of Article VIII has been condemned by conservationists, called unnecessary at best by the IWC - which has also repeatedly called upon Japan to stop it's "lethal research" - and the legality of this move has been officially challenged with the International Court of Justice. Arguments will be heard by the court in coming years.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Posted in: Japanese whaling: Why the West is in the wrong See in context

Pro-whaling antagonists go on to express the opinion that the decisions of the International Whaling Commission simply do not apply to Japanese whaling.

The history of modern industrial whaling has seen whaling nations, time and time again, ignore or subvert the regulations set forth by the International Whaling Commission. Not surprising, nearly every species of large whale was driven to the brink of extinction and many remain classified as endangered species today.

The moratorium on commercial whaling followed many other IWC decisions protecting various whale stocks. The decision was made by more than 2/3rds majority of IWC members in 1982 in order to halt the ongoing destruction of whales - done so with Japan and Soviet Russia threatening to break up the IWC and followed by Japan subverting the decision through its abuse of Article VIII.

Japan has historically violated size limits, species protections, seasonal limits, all manner of quotas, and even facilitated pirate whaling operations all over the world. Japan did not suddenly undertake "scientific research" in the Southern Ocean to satisfy the IWC. Japan continued whaling under a loophole intended for science in defiance of the whaling ban.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Posted in: Japanese whaling: Why the West is in the wrong See in context

Unfortunately, pro-whaling antagonists continue to present their opinions as if they were facts.

The facts are (as illustrated in resolution 2007-1) the International Whaling Commission has repeatedly called on Japan to stop killing whales.

Rather than address the reasons why commercial whaling has been prohibited by the IWC (ie: decades of over-exploitation threatening species, economic interest in utilizing 'living' whales, effective non-lethal methods of research, etc) they merely proclaim that the IWC has been taken over by radicals or is somehow biased against Japan.

These emotional arguments from pro-whalers are not rational or reasonable. Neither present any effective legal defense for the actions of Japanese whalers - the legality of which has been challenged and the International Court of Justice will hear additional arguments in the coming years.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Posted in: Japanese whaling: Why the West is in the wrong See in context

One reader suggests that Japan's ongoing whaling is done in accordance with the "Law of the Sea".

However, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea states in Article 65:

"States shall cooperate with a view to the conservation of marine mammals and in the case of cetaceans shall in particular work through the appropriate international organizations for their conservation, management and study."

The appropriate international organization in this case is, of course, the International Whaling Commission which has prohibited all commercial whaling, listed nearly all large whales as "protection stocks", and repeatedly passed resolutions calling on Japan to stop killing whales.

Resolution 2007-1

RESOLUTION ON JARPA

WHEREAS paragraph 7(b) of the Schedule establishes a sanctuary in the Southern Ocean;

RECALLING that the Commission has repeatedly requested Contracting Parties to refrain from issuing special permits for research involving the killing of whales within the Southern Ocean Sanctuary, has expressed deep concern at continuing lethal research within the Southern Ocean Sanctuary, and has also recommended that scientific research involving the killing of cetaceans should only be permitted where critically important research needs are addressed;

CONSCIOUS that the Scientific Committee last year convened a workshop to analyse the results of JARPA 1, which is reported in SC/59/REP 1;

NOTING that the Workshop agreed that none of the goals of JARPA 1 had been reached, and that the results of the JARPA 1 programme are not required for management under the RMP;

FURTHER NOTING that the Government of Japan has authorised a new special permit programme in the Antarctic, JARPA II, in which the take of minke whales has been more than doubled, and fin whales and humpback whales have been added to the list of targeted species;

CONCERNED that fin whales in the Southern Hemisphere are currently classified as endangered, and that humpback whales in the JARPA II research area may include individuals from depleted breeding populations overwintering in the waters of certain Pacific Islands;

CONVINCED that the aims of JARPA II do not address critically important research needs;

NOW THEREFORE THE COMMISSION

CALLS UPON the Government of Japan to address the 31 recommendations listed in Appendix 4 of Annex O of the Scientific Committee report relating to the December 2006 review of the JARPA I programme to the satisfaction of the Scientific Committee;

FURTHER CALLS UPON the Government of Japan to suspend indefinitely the lethal aspects of JARPA II conducted within the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Posted in: Japanese whaling: Why the West is in the wrong See in context

Unfortunately, some pro-whalers continue to ignore the history of modern whaling and assert opinions as if they were facts.

As previously mentioned, they emotionally claim that Japan must kill whales for tradition and culture despite that most Japanese people don't eat whale, the whaling is performed using Norwegian methods for mass production (not tradition), and pelagic whaling is often performed thousands of miles away from Japan when traditional whaling was only ever conducted near-shore.

They go on to take liberty with the history of modern whaling and suggest that American whalers took all of the whales in Japan's waters while ignoring the fact that Japan's own modern whaling industry rose at the start of the 20th century with Norwegian whaling gear (and even Norwegian whalers as crew), grew very quickly profiting from sales of whale oil to western countries for margarine production, exhausted stocks in traditional hunting grounds, expanded into new territory as Japan's naval power grew, and began exploiting whale stocks as far away as Antarctica into the 1930s.

They also conveniently ignore the long history of Japan's whaling industry defying international whaling regulations including exceeding quotas, hunting out of season, killing undersized and protected whales, hunting in areas declared off-limits, and even facilitating "pirate whaling" operations all over the world (that's front companies with foreign labor killing whales in secret and smuggling the unreported meat to Japan). Indeed, Japan's modern whaling history is complicit in the destruction of the world's whales and continues to kill endangered species in defiance of international resolutions to this day.

Dr. Sidney Holt was a member of the IWC "Committee of Three" from 1960 to 1985 and continued to advise nations and NGOs in the years following. It is true that IWC scientists refer to data presented by Japan as they are obligated to do so. However, Japan's continued use of lethal research programs have been criticized by scientists within and outside of the IWC as unnecessary to manage whale stocks and flawed.

Professor Jun Morikawa, author of "Whaling in Japan: Power, Politics, and Diplomacy" has explained that Japanese whaling continues because bureaucrats (amakudari) who often take high paid positions in the commercial whaling industry they once oversaw, and secured tax funded subsidies for, as public officials. That whale meat was only a substitute meat during the post WWII recovery, and that the significance of whaling as national culture in Japan is invented where whaling traditions are limited to a small number of coastal villages.

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Posted in: Japanese whaling: Why the West is in the wrong See in context

Pro-whalers often make odd claims about opposition to whaling being entirely emotional, in addition to their other odd claims about opposition to whaling being entirely cultural.

In order to do this, they must ignore all of the scientists and conservationists who have made reasonable arguments against whaling as well as the historical decimation of whale stocks all over the world during the 20th century by commercial whaling industries.

However, the only truly emotional argument is that made by the whalers.

There is no scientific need to kill whales. There is no economic need to kill whales. There is no nutritional need to kill whales.

So, pro-whalers resort to emotional arguments.

They claim they must kill whales for tradition when only a tiny fraction of the population actually eats whale meat, traditional methods of hunting aren't used, and the hunting doesn't take place in traditional places.

They claim they must hunt whales for science. However, scientists all over the world, including in the IWC scientific committee, have repeatedly condemned Japan's lethal research and shown that whale stocks can be adequately studied with non-lethal methods.

And when all else fails, they claim victim status, as if the third largest economy in the world and its national government is under threat from a menacing boogeyman of the outside world.

These pro-whaling claims are not reasonable or rational.

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Posted in: Japanese whaling: Why the West is in the wrong See in context

"Modern culture is to an extent the evolution of tradition. Whaling is part of the Japanese culture, period. Your argument that it is not is a distraction." According to Jun Morikawa, the importance of whaling as "tradition" is invented and does not exist outside of a few isolated coastal villages.

The historical evidence is plentiful... as previously posted:

Modern Japanese whalers do not use traditional methods. They kill whales using Norwegian methods for mass production.

Most Japanese people do not eat whale meat and whale was only a substitute meat during the post war recovery. In fact, Japan's modern whaling industry first profitted from selling whale oil to western countries for production of margarine in the early 20th century.

Some regions of Japan historically worshiped whales and never ate them -- a fact overlooked by pro-whalers keen to falsely imply that every ancestor of Japanese people was once a whaler.

The fact is that whaling today is carried out because of bureaucrats (amakudari) who often take high paid positions in the commercial whaling industry they once oversaw, and secured tax funded subsidies, for as public officials.

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Posted in: Japanese whaling: Why the West is in the wrong See in context

Some continue to ignore the history of modern whaling and reality in general in these comments...

For example, some suggest the Antarctic Sanctuary is not 'scientific' despite the preceding decades where scientists advised reduced quotas that went ignored and saw every species of whale decimated (other than the minke - and the IUCN which has data that suggests the Antarctic minke may have declined 50% in the last three generations) - not to mention the separate IWC decisions for protection of various stocks of whales and banning the use of factory ships.

Here is some commentary from an actual IWC scientist regarding the Southern Ocean and the history of commercial whaling nations that ignored scientific advice:

"Most importantly it's exactly eighty years since the eminent Argentine international lawyer, José Leon Suárez, proposed to the League of Nations that a sanctuary for whales be established in the Antarctic. Suarez reported that if nothing were done the fin, blue and humpback whales would be practically exterminated in the Southern Hemisphere. That took rather longer than he thought it would, but it had happened by 1959.

Then the sei whale resource was plundered in the 1960s.

Demolition of the minke whales was begun in the 1970s.

The biomass of the still numerous minke whales is less than one percent of the biomass of the Southern Hemisphere baleen whales at the time Suarez reported to the League of Nations. Think about that. We're talking endlessly about how to sweep up the crumbs left on the table after the feast. If anything's dysfunctional, that's it."

-- Dr. Sidney Holt, Marine biologist and former IWC scientific committee member

In that statement to the IWC, Dr. Holt goes on to explain that improvement in scientific knowledge of whales, non-lethal methods of study, and non-lethal use of whales justifies and end to commercial whaling.

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Posted in: Japanese whaling: Why the West is in the wrong See in context

Correction above - driven to "near extinction"...

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Posted in: Japanese whaling: Why the West is in the wrong See in context

@Dave R

1 & 2) The author goes to great lengths to imply anti-whaling protest is a cultural matter but fails to address the lack of cultural tradition or significance in modern Japanese whaling - ie: the protest is against whaling - not against Japanese culture

3) The IWC has, through democratic processes, established protections for just about every species of whale prior to the moratorium and a ban on factory ships - then the moratorium on commercial whaling and the southern ocean whale sanctuary - Japan has historically flouted IWC decisions and the legality of its current abuse of Article VIII is disputed. The IWC has repeatedly passed resolutions calling on Japan to stop killing whales.

Unfortunately, pro-whalers believe Japan can just kill as many whales as it likes regardless of how many international conventions prohibit the slaughter of whales or trade of whale products.

4 & 5) Japan's whaling industry has a long and sordid history of violating and subverting internationally established whaling regulations -- this lack of respect for international regulations is exactly why so many whale species were driven to extinction and shows a pattern of criminal behavior that must be taken into consideration when evaluating Japan's current stance on whaling.

6) The origin of the Save the Whales movement is important to consider - a result of the near extinction of every species of large whale except for the Minke - not the result of cultural imperialism as some falsely suggest...

7) Japan kills 100 endangered Sei whales annually. Only a pro-whalers would call that a "handful". The decision to import endangered Fin whale meat from Iceland has resulted in 273 dead Fin whales just from 2009-2010... another "handful" in the eyes of pro-whalers I suppose... one endangered whale killed for commercial profit is one too many and prohibited by the IWC and by CITES

8) Unfortunately, pro-whalers believe whaling nations can simply ignore international conventions and kill as many whales as they like regardless of the democratic decisions of the international community.

Finally, thousands of tons of the stuff IS just rotting in cold storage. As pointed out by Jun Morikawa, Japanese families stopped buying whale when they could afford other meat, even when whale was cheaper because whale meat was only ever a substitute meat during the post war recovery.

Paul Watson and Sea Shepherd took on the Soviet Union, in Soviet waters and the North Pacific, as well as Iceland, Norway, and more. Unfortunately, some like to leave these details out when they demonize Sea Shepherd and falsely claim the group only focuses on Japanese whaling.

The IWC has prohibited all whaling by democratic decision of two-thirds majority of its members in 1982 following a UN decision from 1972 also calling for a moratorium on commercial whaling. Unfortunately, pro-whalers have no respect for the democratic decisions of the international community.

Japan lost the vote on whaling. In fact, Japan lost many votes on whaling.

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