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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 2006: Israel joins - IWC nations number 70

Israel has finally completed the process and is now a recognised IWC member.

That's one more vote for the anti-whaling camp. Updating my IWC nations list...

In the pro-sustainable use corner:
From Central America (10)
Belize, Guatemala, Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica , Grenada, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent & Grenadines, Nicaragua, Surinam
From Europe (4)
Iceland, Norway, Russia, Denmark
From Oceania (6)
Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, Nauru, Palau, Kiribati, Solomon Islands
From Asia (5)
Mongolia, China, South Korea, Japan, Cambodia
From the Middle East (1)
From Africa (11)
The Gambia, Benin, Cameroon, Cote d'lvoire, Gabon, Guinea, Senegal, Mauritania, Morocco, Togo, Mali

Costa Rico, Peru, Kenya (These 3 nations never turn up to vote)

In the anti-whaling corner:
From Asia (1):
From Europe (19):
Finland, Ireland, Italy, Holland, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Monaco, Portugal, San Marino, Slovakia, Spain, UK
From Central America (2):
Mexico, Panama
From South America (3)
Chile, Argentina, Brazil
From Oceania (2)
Australia, New Zealand
From North America (1)
From the Middle East (1)
From Africa (1)
South Africa

In summary, by my analysis we are currently looking at:
37 members who are likely to vote in accordance with the principle of sustainable use;
3 nations who will simply fail to turn up to vote;
30 members likely to vote against all forms of whaling.

There has been some speculation over how the Solomon Islands will vote (if indeed they turn up), but for now I've got them in the pro-sustainable use camp, in that 37 figure.

The pro-conservation & sustainable use bloc still has a healthy lead on paper over the anti-whalers. Still, if a large number of the developing nations that would normally support whaling fail to show, the anti-whaling bloc may still have an actual voting majority during the plenary meeting. It works both ways however - India, who I have as an anti-whaling nation, fail to turn up sometimes for example.

Another interesting one to watch will be South Africa. Since their representative quit and joined Sea Shepherd, one wonders whether he was unhappy with instructions from his ministry...

* I fixed a mistake I made in classifying Belize as an African nation. Of course, Belize is in Central America. Apologies to Belize.

Hi David.

Even though they are pro-whaling nations, you can expect China and South Korea to abstain from voting on some issues depending on the state of their relation with Japan.

At last year's IWC meeting, the votes of China and S. Korea could have given a majority to the pro-sustainable use side, had they not abstained.

A recent internet poll conducted in China showed more than 90% of Chinese to be against Japanese wish to resume commercial whaling. This is mostly due to strong anti-japanese feelings in this country. Besides, the poll was co-organized by IFAW...which certainly makes it less reliable.

Let's see how China and S. Korea will vote, this year. ;)
Hi there!

Yes, my classifications are just generalizations about the underlying principle that each nation is likely to support, and as you note China did abstain on some issues last year.

For the benefit of other readers, those issues were:
1) Japan's request to delete the topic of Santuaries from the plenary agenda
2) An RMS related item
3) A small scale minke whale catch quota for Japan's coastal communities

China did vote with Japan on the matters of
1) secret ballots
2) refusal to condemn the JARPA II programme
3) refusal to support new sanctuaries

Korea voted against Japan on the coastal catch limit allocation, but otherwise supported secret ballots, voted against adoption of a new sanctuary, but also abstained on the RMS item.

Results (in Japanese) here:

No big deal with regards to the RMS, as it isn't going anywhere at the moment. I don't think there is any point in discussing it until there is enough support to actually vote in favour of a resumption in commercial whaling. If the pro-whaling nations agreed on something now they'd just be wrapping their whalers up in red tape. Norway certaintly wouldn't agree to any overly draconian system since she is already whaling commercially.

I saw the 90% poll from China as well, but as you note it was backed by the IFAW, and was just an internet poll anyway. Not scientific :-)

Still a few days to go before voting yet - I'm wondering if others, such as Trinidad and Tobago might join. They have been publicly encouraged to do so by their neighbouring Caribbean friends, in the past.
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