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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: Japan announces pro-active plans

Good news for sustainable use proponents.
A proposal from Japan and other Pacific Island nations is going to establish a new forum to work for the normalization of the IWC - bringing it back to conserve whale stocks and regulate whaling as originally planned.
Face-savingly for New Zealand and Australia, they will be omitted due to their hard-core anti-whaling positions, allowing them to continue their political posturing on the issue, should they so desire.
Japan to call for separate forum on whaling outside IWC

TOKYO -- Japan will propose a separate forum to the International Whaling Commission annual meeting to try to sideline "hardliners" opposed to an end to the ban on commercial whaling, officials said Thursday.

"We will make a proposal calling for a (return to the original aims) of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), which is completely deadlocked, by holding a separate meeting excluding anti-whaling hardliners," said Hideki Moronuki, chief of the whaling section of Japan's Fisheries Agency.

The proposal is aimed at setting up an alternative forum for discussing ways of controlling commercial whaling, rather than having an outright ban, but is not intended to completely replace the IWC, he said.

"It will be a joint proposal with other pro-whaling Pacific countries," he told Agence France-Presse.

Moronuki did not say specifically which countries Japan hoped to exclude but noted that Australia and New Zealand were among the staunchest opponents of commercial whaling.

"The current IWC is not functioning as an organization to find ways to control whaling, because of a few hardline anti-whaling countries," said the Fisheries Agency official.

"But many members of IWC, including some moderately anti-whaling countries, agree with us that the IWC should discuss the way to control commercial whaling so as to preserve whales as marine resources, which is the spirit of the 1946 International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling," he said.

Australia and New Zealand will have absolutely nothing to complain about. Both have admitted that under no circumstances would they support any form of commercial whaling.

Here's Australia in 1997:
Australia emphasised that, despite some press comments to the contrary, its position is one of seeking an end to whaling, and it will not support the RMS or engage in the debate.
And New Zealand at the IWC in 1991, on a resolution regarding the adoption of the Revised Management Procedure:
In explanation of its vote, New Zealand commented that it had abstained because it does not favour the resumption of commercial whaling.
And from the verbatim record:
"If I am right in my assessment then I'd have to say very bluntly that, although what is proposed may seem sensible and acceptable to the majority of the Scientific Committee who proposed it, in my country it's not politically acceptable."
Indeed. And it's clear that a country with such a position has no business at all in a forum discussing how to move forward with commercial whaling.

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