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David @ Tokyo

Perspective from Japan on whaling and whale meat, a spot of gourmet news, and monthly updates of whale meat stockpile statistics



IWC 2005: pre-meeting political insanity continues

The Australian politicians have joined the NZ Greens Party in spouting off a load of silly nonsense pre-IWC 2005.

Let's take a look at what is being said...

1) Govt urged to fight whale hunting plan
2) Downer should act on whaling: Labor
3) Use diplomacy to save whales: Labor
4) Greens urge action over Japan's whaling stance
5) Japan warned whaling risks relations

Lots of reading there, so at this point you are likely thoroughly misinformed by this typical western media propaganda. Very little useful information there at all!

Let's see

The legality of Japan's scientific whaling programmes was again brought into question by various parties, par the course. If you've read my blog before you will already know that the legality of the programmes is undeniable. Those who want to deny it ought to read the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW) first, in particular, Article VIII. So much for taking this case to the International Court of Justice - Japan would win hands down, and Australia would be utterly embarassed. It'd also show the world once and for all that Japan is in the right on this issue - so the Australian government would never be stupid enough to go there.

The Australians are also talking about "reforming" the IWC to have all forms of whaling stopped. Presumably they mean by getting the ICRW thrown out. But they'll find it hard to be taken seriously while they themselves remain signatory to the convention. Step 1 - put your money where your mouth is and show the world that you really oppose the content of the ICRW.

Some poor chap was under the impression that Japan killing humpbacks will impact tourism industry. That's one of the more ridiculous claims you'll find in that group of articles. How many humpback whales are the Japanese hoping to kill?
That's right.
Unless those 10 humpbacks are the only humpbacks that the tourist operators are harassing with their boats, I don't think there is much to worry about there.

Lots of threats in those articles too - one politician suggested that Australia should be "very rude indeed" towards Japan, and some fruitloop suggested a "diplomatic incident" was needed.

Of course, in such an event the party that has the most to lose is the Australians. The Japanese would be more concerned with their relations with China - it's much closer, bigger, and increasingly important trading partner.

This isn't the first time Japan has been threatened with economic sanctions, souring relations etc, over the whaling issue. Such comments are politically motivated, and will never come to anything. Lots of huffing and puffing is standard BS for western politicians on this issue. And the Japanese government is surely well accustomed to this nonsense by now.

Another poor fellow described whaling as a "horrifying practice".

Well, what can you say. Perhaps he should worry about his own backyard first.

Finally, one of those chaps talked about a "disastrous impact on humpbacks", if the Japanese go ahead with their proposal to kill 10 for research purposes.
Wasn't it just last year that Australian researchers reported that the humpback population was "booming"? They also said that "the herd is increasing at a rate of 10 per cent a year".

Let's check the IWC's population estimates.
Back in 1988 the population size was (conservatively) 5,900.
A Japanese research catch of 10 humpbacks a year would represent a piddly 0.16% of that. And just consider again that the Australian researchers believe the herd is increasing at a rate of 10% a year.

You don't have to be very good at maths to realise that talk of a "disastrous impact on humpbacks" is nothing but utter nonsense.

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