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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



Election year in Australia

I'm sure I'm not the only one who has been enjoying reading coverage of the war of words within Australia about how to deal with the whaling issue.

The ALP has apparently suggested taking a hard line approach involving navy vessels and possible vessel boardings (an election year suck up to the gullible), and Malcolm Turnbull has responded by pointing out the various problems with such actions. The Australian Greens seem to be backing the ALP as well, but I guess they are irrelevant anyway.

I feel sorry for any incumbent Australian minister of the environment. Rather than try and find a good way to uphold a bad policy, I'm sure they wish they had the option of just throwing the policy away for a good one, i.e., tolerate whaling to the extent that it is sustainable. No political incentive exists to take this route though, it seems.

At any rate, it's great to see anti-whaling Australia so divided on the issue. I look forward to the New Zealand elections in 2008 as well, as no doubt there will be politicians there who also wish to attract the "lunatic" vote.


I think most people will vote Labor to get Howard out, not Rudd in. And no people who vote for Rudd are not "lunatics"

As you probably realise David, most people don't care about whaling, or the environment that matter, with the Greens just taking 10% of votes. Aussies care much more about job conditions and the economy...

John Howard is still a global warming sceptic, and then he says we should pray for rain. It’s not good enough mate.
Currently Melbourne’s water is at 29% and dropping, considering that 2005 we were at 60%. A disaster waiting to happen, yet Victoria wants to increse the population by at least a million by 2030.
We will have to drink recycled sewage. That will be fun and something to look forward to...

S.A from Melbourne

>Under Labor's proposal,
>Australian navy ships would be
>sent to intercept and board
>whaling vessels in the Southern


I wonder if Aussies are the friends of crazy SSCS?

I think this is one of the typical examples that whales are used as political propaganda.

We are not interested in Australian election,but such statement gives rise to the issue whether they continue to be our important business partners.

For example,just as Aussies don't care about whaling, so we need not Aussie beef.To the U.S,Aussies' lunatic decision is the very nice news.If we need meat,our government will hurry to import the beef from the U.S.we are always open to NZ to import lamb.

Aussies should realize not all of us are the good-natured persons.
Whaling is one of Japanese important policies.

Aussies should know better.


I didn't say that people who vote Rudd are lunatics, I inferred that people who think the whaling policy announced by Labor is a good one are those of the "lunatic" sector of the electorate. I'm sure most Australians would not be voting for Rudd because of this election year gullible voters plea.

It's also clear from the policy that Labor will not in fact exercise the option of boarding vessels. They only say they will maintain the option. I'm sure they wouldn't be so badly informed as to think it were a legitimate action to take. Although I'd love to be proven wrong.
For posterity, an interview with Malcolm Turnbull on this sourced from here.

LAURIE OAKES: Mr Turnbull, welcome to SUNDAY.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Good morning Laurie.

LAURIE OAKES: Well the Labor Party wants to send the navy to protect whales. What's your reaction, should we be involved in this sort of gunboat diplomacy?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: That is a very reckless proposal and the Labor Party is clearly determined to make Australia a — well — put us into the business of piracy really. The waters off the Australian Antarctic Territory that we describe as our exclusive economic zone, are not recognised as being Australian waters by most countries in the world, and certainly not recognised by Japan. So, as far as Japan is concerned they are international waters, and they are entitled to freedom of navigation on the high seas. If we were to send Australian warships, as Mr Rudd proposes, to intercept and board Japanese commercial vessels, we would put ourselves in a state of extreme — well I wouldn't go so far — well it could develop into hostility, put it that way, it is an extraordinary recommendation to make and the question that Mr Rudd doesn't answer is what does he think Japan will do? I mean, Japan would immediately protest. If we persist, they go to an international court, the international court will find those are international waters, Australia then has to retreat. Or, does Japan send its own vessels, its own naval vessels to protect its shipping. I mean this is the most reckless proposal, and, of course, completely counterproductive in terms of protecting the whales. I mean, what, we are dealing with a very complicated diplomatic issue, a diplomatic and environmental issue and Labor's suggestions are dangerous and counterproductive and, clearly, not thought through. I mean, Mr Rudd was a diplomat for some time, he knows …

LAURIE OAKES: I was going to make that point, he was quite senior as a diplomat surely he wouldn't put forward something as reckless as you say this is?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, it undoubtedly is reckless Laurie and an indication of how reckless it is, is that neither Mr Rudd, nor Mr Garrett have ever sought a briefing from the Department of Foreign Affairs on this, or from my department, or Attorney Generals, they haven't — the Australian Government has taken the view, for many years, that to act in the way that Mr Rudd proposes would be very counterproductive and dangerous. It wouldn't be successful and, of course, it would do untold damage to a very important — to the relations with the very important ally, trading partner, investor, in Japan, so this is an extraordinarily dangerous proposal and really what Mr Rudd should be asked to do, is to just walk through the consequences. What does he really think, that Japan will just back down and walk away? Do you think they will — that they will succumb to a show of Australian force, of course they won't. This is a super power we're talking about … and, you know, what he is trying to do is to get local votes in Australia — this is how cynical it is. He's trying to get votes in Australia with this radical proposal, this dangerous proposal, even though he knows, and knows full well that it will hurt Australia's interests abroad, and it will undermine the case of the anti-whaling nations because we have to be seen always to be reasonable and measured in our response. If we start acting in a unilateral, radical way as Mr Rudd proposes, that will mean we are marginalised in terms of the anti-whaling campaign, which, of course, has been very successful. There is been a moratorium on commercial whaling for more than 20 years.

LAURIE OAKES: The Labor policy's got two prongs. The second prong Labor says it would take Japan to international courts such as the International Court of Justice, or the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea, now why doesn't the Howard Government do that?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well again our advice is, and view is, and this is shared by other anti-whaling nations like New Zealand, is that an application to the International Court of Justice would be unsuccessful. For a variety of reasons, there are a number of legal obstacles to taking that action, technical and evidentary. Now, if we were to sue Japan in the International Court of Justice and lose, even if the basis of our loss was a very technical one, that would be seen as vindicating Japan's campaign to resume commercial whaling. In other words, we would set the anti-whaling campaign — the anti-whaling movement back many years. So, this is not like bringing a suit in an Australian court with an Australian defendant where if you lose you have to pay a costs order, it's just a monetary cost. There is a very big downside here. Now again, Mr Rudd has just said we'll sue them, he hasn't contemplated what the consequences would be of losing; he hasn't bothered to get a briefing about why the government believes, and has believed for many years, that a suit of this kind would fail, he hasn't bothered to enquire as to why Sir Geoffrey Palmer, who used to be on the International Court of Justice, former New Zealand Prime Minister, and a member of the Whaling Commission, is adamant, in his view, that bringing suit in the ICJ would fail. So again, this is reckless policy designed to get a few votes in Australia, he hopes, but which would damage Australia's standing and in particular, undermine our anti-whaling campaign.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
And here's another article:

Mayor rejects Rudd whaling intervention plan

The Mayor of Cairns in far north Queensland, Kevin Byrne, says the Federal Opposition's plan to use the Navy to stop Japanese whaling is dumb politics.

Under the policy, Australian Navy ships could intercept Japanese whaling ships.

Councillor Byrne says the plan would have a devastating impact on the region's Japanese tourism market.

He says Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd should reconsider the issue.

"It's over the top. I think it was ill-conceived and really dumb politics when it comes to what the Japanese contribute here," he said.

"It must be said that I think a vast majority of Australians are anti-whaling, but there are different ways to go about it."
Thank you for the info about
this issue.

I felt relieved to see Rudd is
in the minority.

Yes! Most of the Australian people are the good partners of Japan.They should be so,though they are the anti-whaling bloc.

Maybe Rudd will succeed in getting elected, but I'm more convinced that his government would never take the reckless actions they have suggested once they are in power.

It was good to see the Mayor of Cairns speaking out against Mr. Rudd.
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