Perspective from Japan on whaling and whale meat, a spot of gourmet news, and monthly updates of whale meat stockpile statistics
The meeting has broken for lunch after an initial vote requested by Japan failed to gain the necessary support. The vote was 30-32 against, but it's likely that some floating votes were added to the anti-whaling bloc in this instance. Back later :-)[02:57 JST]
Previously today, Sir Geoff Palmer made some comments regarding the competence of the IWC to manage small cetaceans. He refered to Agenda 21, Chapter 17 in support of his argument. The interesting thing about this is that his argument says that if one document says the IWC has competence, then the IWC has competence. This sets a dangerous precedent. It should be wholly up to the IWC to determine whether or not small cetaceans are in it's competence. If this is not the case, it means it is possible for members of one international agreement to change the meaning of another international agreement, without gaining consent of the signatories to that agreement. That would clearly be an anomalous situation. Another 20 - 30 minutes to go before the resumption. We'll have another 2 and a half hours of proceedings for today, with the delegates having a reception to attend after 5 pm local time.[03:08 JST]
One of the more amusing moments from the proceedings so far today, besides watching Henrik Fischer fume over time wasting, was during the initial vote. The procedure is that Dr Nicky Grandy of the IWC secretariat calls out each nations name, asking for them to vote either "yes" or "no". Nicky Grandy then repeats either "yes" or "no", then calls the next nations. In the middle of the voting, after one of the "no" nations had voted, and Nicky Grandy repeated "no", she called Benin, who's delegate was seemingly confused by the mesmerising repetition of "no", "no", "no", and called out "nno... YES! YES!" Although it put a smile on everyone's face, the Highnorth Alliance noted the possibility of votes being lost this way
through the voting procedure. One wonders whether Belize didn't accidently cast their vote for the anti-whaling nations, in which case the vote would have been tied at 31-31.[03:33 JST]
Back under way again, but dealing with some less interesting procedural stuff here... (Agenda item 24 - F & A committee, Agenda item 25 - Future annual meetings)[03:45 JST]
Problems with Chile's video presentation on their future meeting, and in the meantime they've moved on to the secret ballot proposal from Japan. Japan is explaining the provision again. They are clarifying that secret ballots would only be used when requested. Details of harassment of smaller nations at the IWC is being detailed. Joji Morishita notes that some nations vote for sustainable use in other international forums, but vote against sustainable use of whales at the IWC. Japan feels that there may be pressure on these nations that makes them voted inconsistently in international forums. Other international forums also have secret ballot provisions. Japan is requesting consensus, but will call for a vote if it can not obtain it.[03:54 JST]
New Zealand is restating it's position on the matter. Lots of veiled attacks on Japan there. Fifteen other nations are wishing to speak on the proposal. Henrik Fischer is limiting the rest of the speakers to 1 minute each. Let's hope so!
Interesting really. When people talk about Freedom of Speech, they talk of defending the right of others to say what they wish, even though they may not agree. At the IWC, the situation is that anti-whaling interests threaten nations that say they support sustainable use.[04:17 JST]
Secret Ballots fail by 33-30, with 1 abstention! Belize again voted with the anti-whaling bloc, so it seems that their previous vote was no mistake.
In this vote, the Solomon Islands abstained, again losing another vote for the sustainable use groups. Denmark sided with the anti-whaling nations on this issue. St Kitts spoke very strongly in favour of the proposal, but to no avail. The nations against secret ballots spoke of how they were not afraid to have their votes known, but none of them addressed the concerns of small vulnerable nations who have been accused of taking bribes, and suffered threats of economic boycotts.
And with that they break again. Back in another 40 minutes...[04:28 JST]
Whale Stocks, the fifth item on the agenda will be coming up from 16:00 local time. And here in Japan, it has started to get light outside.[04:41 JST]
The IWMC has two editions of it's Conservation Tribune
online now.[04:58 JST]
I'm struggling to stay awake now, so blogging is likely going to tail off at some point during this last hour of the day. For some reason the issue of interference with research has not been taken up yet, I'm not sure why this is. Just about ready to get started again. School teacher Fischer told the delegates to be back in their seats bang on the hour.[10:52 JST]
I've just listened to the press conference held by the Japanese, which covered the rest of the proceedings. Apparently the Scientific Committee was unable to provide an updated estimate for the Southern Ocean minke, once again. I did not catch the details for the Humpbacks either. In the political area, apparently Togo has also had it's voting rights restored now, along with The Gambia, so although Japan's agenda revision and secret ballot proposals were both voted down today, the remainder of the votes this meeting will all be very tight. Interesting is that Belize has voted with the anti-whaling bloc on both proposals. This comes despite allegations from some anti-whaling NGOs that Japan had "bought" Belize's vote.[11:02 JST]
Chris Carter has told newstalkzb that he understands that Senegal (not present in today's voting) is due to arrive in time for tomorrow's proceedings
The e-kujira site has the pre-meeting press conference with Joji Morishita
, in English (real format). He stresses that Japan's goal for the plenary is to make some progress towards "normalization" of the IWC, noting that despite 14 years and 45 meetings, the IWC was making no progress towards an RMS. He rejects allegations of vote buying, noting that nations such as Brazil receive huge amounts of aid from Japan, and that Japan is the number one donor for some of these nations, yet they vote against Japan at the IWC. They should have been voting with Japan for years by now if vote buying was going on.