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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



JARPA II to depart Wednesday

The ICR today announced (Japanese press release) that the JARPA II research fleet, consisting of 7 ships (the mother ship, 3 sighting-sampling vessels, and 2 dedicated sighting survey vessels) will depart on it's second voyage tomorrow, Wednesday 15.

The research this year is essentially the same as last year, except that the region of ocean being surveyed shifts to the eastern part of the JARPA II research area which is roughly in the Antarctic waters south of New Zealand. Again around 850 minke whales and 10 fin whales are scheduled to be taken, in addition to a variety of other research activities including non-lethal biopsy sampling, oceanographic survey, etc.

* * *

The western media caught on to this quickly, probably with prodding from NGO groups such as WDCS (here) and Greenpeace Japan (here).

The WDCS in particular are pushing the line that whale meat stocks are running high. According to the WDCS,
"demand for whale meat is falling so fast in Japan that ...",
and by their estimation,
"The government is simply clutching at straws as the market collapses"
This is despite significant increases in consumption evident from analysis of official stockpile figures.

The WDCS also feigns confusion:
"The government has to reduce the price of whale meat every year to increase sales and thousands of tonnes are stockpiled, unwanted, in freezers. And yet, they still keep increasing the hunt. It makes no sense."
The government in fact sets prices so as to cover the costs of research, not to increase sales; the whale meat clearly is not "unwanted in freezers" as official figures show; the quota increase in the Antarctic was a once off as the JARPA programme concluded and JARPA II commenced; and the reason that "it makes no sense" to the WDCS is because they refuse to accept that JARPA II is a genuine research programme, running at a loss. JARPA II's objectives do not include "making a profit", in stark contrast to what we will see with future commercial whaling operations.

If all that wasn't enough, the WDCS is also confused about the gender of Iceland's Ambassador, referring to Ms. Fumiko Saiga as "he", rather than "she".

Finally in conclusion, apparently primarily based on their conviction that whale meat demand is decreasing, the WDCS believes that:
"The three leading whaling nations, Japan, Norway, and Iceland, clearly have no need to go whaling."
On the contrary, what is clear is that the Irish Examiner, who reported this story, needs to do a better job of reporting facts and figures, rather than regurgitating prepared anti-whaling NGO propaganda, basically word for word.

The western public deserves to be properly informed.

* * *

UPDATE: Some initial media coverage in Japan covers a pre-departure Buddhist ceremony held in Shimonoseki.

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