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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: Australians attempt to lower expectations

Ian Campbell of Australia is huffing and puffing big time ahead of the plenary session of IWC 57 next week.

Apparently, Campbell has done his numbers, and figures that "Anti-whaling nations were one vote short of blocking Japan's efforts to overturn a 20-year moratorium on commercial whaling"

Good grief, when is Ian going to spare us the nonsense?
As far as I know, the Japanese aren't likely to even put forward such a proposal, as they know that it would be a waste of time, at this point.
To overturn the commercial moratorium, at least 75% of the IWC's membership must support the motion. That's more than 45 nations at the IWC that Campbell is claiming supports this. Where did he get this idea from?

Here's some more of what Campbell has been feeding the media (and what the media have foolishly bothered to put into print):

Japan had been engaging in "disturbing" and "alarming" tactics to strong-arm smaller nations into backing its plans.

Senator Campbell refused to reveal his "intelligence" on the Japanese tactics before Wednesday's vote, saying: "They will be revealed in due course, but what we are hearing is very, very disturbing.

"They don't care if they win by one vote. This is their big chance. The intelligence we've got would scare you to bits. It's alarming."

Right, Ian... "disturbing", "alarming" and "scary" tactics, but we aren't allowed to know what this is. Why won't Ian just stump up with the story, rather than all this ridiculous spy-thriller like innuendo?

Anti-whaling nations such as Australia don't want a revised scheme on the table, fearing that pro-whaling nations would push to reword the scheme to allow the resumption of commercial whaling.

The media is thoroughly confused. The "Revised Management Scheme" has always been about putting in place a Scheme to monitor commercial whaling operations. It doesn't need rewording to make it clear that the whole point is to allowing whaling activities, based on quotas set using the "Revised Management Procedure".

Senator Campbell said that even anti-whaling nations might cave in on a revised scheme - in the mistaken belief that commercial whaling would remain banned or that only limited whaling be allowed.

There's nothing mistaken about that belief. Commercial whaling would only ever be allowed for demonstrably abundant populations that could be scientifically shown to be robust enough to support a non-zero quota.

Senator Campbell said he was fearful that countries that had declared themselves as anti-whaling could buckle under Japanese pressure.

Senator Campbell would argue against Japan's push for secret ballots at the meeting. Japan said secret ballots were necessary to allow smaller countries to avoid being "bullied".

Senator Campbell complains on one hand that Japan is using "alarming", "scary" tactics to pressure "anti-whaling" nations, and refuses to tell us any details. And then he has the nerve to argue against secret ballots. How does he think the Japanese will be able to pressure other nations if Japan can ultimately not tell who voted for what? How will Japan know who to pressure?

Of course, it's easy to see what is going on here - it's the same every year.

1) Campbell is scaremongering, alluding to dirty tactics by the Japanese, but then refusing to give any details of this (it's a great big made up story, is why). Every year anti-whaling politicians proclaim that Japan may have "bought" enough votes to return to commercial whaling. The anti-whaling "environmental" organizations ask you to donate money to them. Then the meeting comes and Japanese proposals are voted down. The anti-whaling politicians then claim it is a magnificent victory to their domestic constituencies, and the Greenpeaces of the world have got your money. Thanks to your donations, they were able to save the day, they say.

2) In order to ensure it can get the results it desires, Australia needs to know who has to be pressured into voting in line with them. With secret ballots, the Australians (like the Japanese) would not know who to pressure. Whereas Japan regards nations being able to vote without such pressures as a good thing, Australia and co on the other hand argue against it, but then accuse Japan of abusing the system.

The ridiculous thing is that the main stream western media are thick enough to buy these stories, and fail to see secret ballots as the normal part of any modern democratic process that they are, year after year.

This time next week, we'll have Campbell prancing about saying how wonderful and lucky it is that commercial whaling proposals were voted down. It's a disgrace.

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