.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

David @ Tokyo

Perspective from Japan on whaling and whale meat, a spot of gourmet news, and monthly updates of whale meat stockpile statistics



Japanese media on humpback catch postponement

The Japanese media came alight with the news surrounding this year's 3rd JARPA II cruise, the first in which humpback whales were scheduled to be taken in the government backed programme.

The information available is that the IWC chair, Bill Hogarth of the US, visited Japan on the 11th of December and requested his counterparts at Japan's Fisheries Agency (JFA) to drop the humpback hunt as it would be an obstacle to successful progress at upcoming IWC normalization talks scheduled for March in England. Apparently "Hogarth has maintained a dialogue with his Japanese counterparts since the IWC meeting in June".

Leaders from JFA then paid a return visit to the US on the 19th, and relayed their intention to postpone the humpback hunt.

The decision was reportedly one made on the basis that Japan's aim is the normalization of the IWC, and leadership judged that including humpbacks in the JARPA research this year could be seen as provoking anti-whaling nations, where the species is a special favourite. Japan is also the current vice-chair of the IWC. However, the decision has been qualified with the condition that it will only apply so long as progress with IWC normalization is seen to be being made (as judged by Japan).

Foreign Minister Komura explained the details of the decision to his Australian counterpart over the phone of Friday evening (my rough translation):
"Minister Smith expressed his concern about Japan's research whaling, and said that they would like us to stop it. I explained to him that research whaling is perfectly legal. At the same time, we had a request from IWC Chair Hogarth, who said "I want to fix the IWC which is not fulfilling it's function. I want Japan, which is the vice-chair, to cooperate. I want Japan to reconsider it's hunting of humpback whales for as long as we are making efforts to fix the IWC". And because of this I relayed to Minister Smith that Japan "as the vice-chair wishes to cooperate in fixing the IWC. And regarding chair Hogarth's request about humpback whales, Japan has determined to postpone the hunt of humpback whales while it's judged that the IWC is making moves towards normalization."

"Chair Hogarth was thinking this could be for 1 to 2 years, but as for the Japanese government, it means the period of time during which the Japanese government judges that progress is being made towards normalization. If we are able to judge that there is no progress at all, then it means we will have a different situation".
While Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura denied that the decision was made out of consideration for Australia's recent complaints on the matter, Japanese news reports and general response in certain internet discussion forums have seen speculation that this move was a "cave in" to anti-whaling protest, particularly from Australia which had announced it would send a patrol vessel to monitor the Japanese research whaling fleet.

In subsequent reports, US officials were noted to have praised Japan's decision and IWC Secretariat Nicola Grandy also responded to Japanese media with a positive view of the move (my translation):
"It is an extremely good decision. It will bring a better atmosphere to future discussions".

"The chair country (USA) and Japan which is the vice-chair agreed to postpone the catch. The aim is to alleviated the heightened tensions that prevail amongst various governments at the current time".
However, in Japan the leading fisheries newspaper, the Minato Shinbun suggests that the move is a part of Japan's "last try" to normalize the IWC.

At 2channel, the forum erupted with hundreds of (largely misinformed) posters generally slamming the government for caving in to anti-whaling nation pressure, with many suggesting that it will only make the anti-whaling nations ask for more. Some criticised Prime Minister Fukuda (already suffering in the opinion polls), others blamed Japan's "weak" foreign ministry, although some more attentive people noted that on this occasion it was the Fisheries Agency that had agreed with the US on the matter.

* * *

The full Minato Shinbun article isn't available online so I've not seen it, but coming from the marine resource utilization realm, I imagine the author is likely as tired with endless attempts at IWC normalization as I am.

From the perspective of upcoming IWC talks, the government's judgment that it is in it's best interest to freeze the JARPA humpback quota ahead of talks aimed at IWC normalization is reasonable.

However, while compromising on the humpback issue may bring a "better" atmosphere to discussions on the IWC future, as Secretary Grandy suggests, I believe this alone will not greatly improve Japan's situation.

Further, it was surely clear that (irrespective of the actual details) agreeing to put off the humpback hunt would be interpreted as a "cave", which will only see anti-whaling campaigners seek to gain more. Japan need not "give" any further, but the move means there is perhaps even less reason to expect offers of compromise from those organizing anti-whaling campaigns in the west.

The core problems with the IWC remain, and there is no indication from any party about how they may be prepared to compromise in order to see the situation resolved. With 75% of member nations required to agree for the IWC to be able to function as a management organization, unless there are significant compromises made by one side or the other (or both), the IWC paralysis will continue.


Hi! David-san,How are you?

I also heard the catch of humpback whales were postponed.For my part, it does not matter at all,because we will have minke and fin whales meat much enough under research.

Last year, because of the fire accident of Nisshin Maru,the supply of the whale meat was not enough and the price was high.

If the research of this season is successful,the total amount of the supply will be about double. This is nice!

And we will have more chance to enjoy the fin whales meat,which is more tender than that of minke whales.

I do not suppose the taste of the humpback meat is much different from that of minke or fin whales.

We need not hurry.

Last year, because of the fire accident of Nisshin Maru,the supply of the whale meat was not enough and the price was high."

Seriously, how did the Japanese get the taste of burnt human out of the whale meat? Or is this part of the secret whale recipe?
Theres nothing wrong with whale meat thats been stored with a dead person! Its all stored in a thing called refrigeration, so there shouldn't be any food poisoning cases, (please ignore the mercury levels, were gunna die inevitabily anyway)
Whaling is sustainable, as much as fishing is sustainable. There is alot of fish in the ocean, just look at the size of the ocean for crying out loud! All this bullshit that the fish is running out... I just have to go to the fishmarket and see that there is plentiful amounts of fish going to waste because not enough people are bloody eating it!
I want to eat whale meat, and if I had to pay extra taxes to fund a new ship I would do that.
Mark. T
Post a Comment

<< Home


June 2004   July 2004   August 2004   September 2004   October 2004   November 2004   December 2004   January 2005   March 2005   April 2005   May 2005   June 2005   July 2005   August 2005   September 2005   October 2005   November 2005   December 2005   January 2006   February 2006   March 2006   April 2006   May 2006   June 2006   July 2006   August 2006   September 2006   October 2006   November 2006   December 2006   January 2007   February 2007   March 2007   April 2007   May 2007   June 2007   July 2007   August 2007   September 2007   October 2007   November 2007   December 2007   January 2008   February 2008   April 2008   May 2008   June 2008   July 2008   August 2008   September 2008   October 2008   November 2008   December 2008   January 2009   February 2009   March 2009   April 2009   May 2009   June 2009   July 2009   August 2009   September 2009   October 2009   November 2009   January 2010   February 2010   April 2010   May 2010   June 2010   July 2010   August 2010   September 2010   February 2011   March 2011   May 2013   June 2013  

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?