Perspective from Japan on whaling and whale meat, a spot of gourmet news, and monthly updates of whale meat stockpile statistics
I posted my thoughts on "Whaling as politics" over here at Rodney Hide's blog
I received a response, and below is my reply."I see your email is @tokyo, David. Does this mean that you live in Japan, and are you involved in the whaling industry? Doesn’t the meat from the whales that were killed for research end up on the fish market? And what research is so important that we need to kill whales to do it? And why do you think the countries that continue to kill whales are so out of step with the rest of the world?"
Hi cristoph, thanks for your interest.
1) Yes, I live in Tokyo. One of my two degrees is in Japanese. I've been exposed to this foreign culture since primary school, so I have a very open and flexible mind.
2) No, I don't have any relation with the Japanese whaling industry at all. You'll make my mum and dad laugh :-) I am a software engineer in a totally unrelated industry.
3) Yes, meat from the whales that were killed for research does end up on the "fish" market. Two main reasons why:
-- There is a market for whale meat in Japan (I've had some too... a steak once - tasted like beef, and some more in a piece of sushi another time - not really my bag though, I prefer shrimp) It's a pretty small market though. Most Japanese people don't have any special urge to go out and eat whale meat every day. In recent times, they are coming to prefer more healthy and civilised foods such as McDonalds.
-- The International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, which I mentioned earlier, expressly states this REQUIREMENT. Yes, it is REQUIRED by the Convention, to which NEW ZEALAND remains a signatory, that proceeds of whaling research be disposed of in a responsible manner, rather than say, just dumping the carcasses back in the sea, as the New Zealand whalers used to do in the good old days.Here is the Convention text
- this REQUIREMENT is stated in Article VIII.
Also, you can find the reason that this requirement (added at the request of the USA) exists in the convention here.
But again note that New Zealand complains about this research whaling all the time - while we have our signature on the very document that makes it legal, giving it further legitimacy.
4) I could explain why research is necessary, but this post would get even longer... so instead I will just point it out that the Convention says "the Contracting Governments will take all practicable measures to obtain such data" (again in Article VIII), and once again remind you that NEW ZEALAND is a SIGNATORY to this document.
My point here is simply that WHALING IS POLITICS TOO, and most New Zealanders probably have no clue just how contradictory the New Zealand government's stance is. The whaling nations don't give a rats about New Zealand and our anti-whaling mates. They can see us turn up to Whaling meetings every year, maintaining our signature on the Convention, while totally contradicting our position with our words and actions. New Zealand politicians need to grow up and stop making an utter fool of us in the international community
. In the meantime, back home in New Zealand, the politician is looked upon favourably by a few "greenies". And of course the politicians get expensive tax payer funded trips overseas. Everyone in New Zealand is a winner!
5) You'll have to define "rest of the world" for me there. When western governments such as those in New Zealand, Australia, the US, and the UK say "world", what they really mean "us and some of our colonies". But that doesn't sound as good as "rest of the world".
Apparently the pro-sustainable resource utilization camp (whalers) are supposed to be greatly outnumbered (in the world). Yet every year Greenpeace and IFAW and the Media tells us that it's time to donate, to keep the filthy dirty whalers from being able to overturn the commercial whaling moratorium. The whalers need a 75% majority before they can achieve that. And since "the rest of the world" is apparently against it, it's not likely to happen right? Right. But that has never stopped Greenpeace / IFAW and the politicians from kicking up a fuss each year - because they want your votes and your financial donations.
Interesting fact to close it out:
The value of donations received by US Greenpeace each year is larger than the value of the whale meat market in Japan. How about that!