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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



Ishinomaki reaction to IWC Future proposal draft

As with the western media, the IWC Future draft rose some eyebrows in Japan as well.

Yomiuri newspapers published editorials (offline now) welcoming the plan to an extent, at least so far as urging Japan to continue to with the negotiations for a compromise.

On the other hand, one Fisheries newspaper put together a detailed article cautioning strongly against it, ultimately urging Japan to get back to the basics of resource management based on compliance and science, and restore whale resource management functions.

Fortunately there was also media coverage of some of those who would be most directly effected by any compromise proposal. Up in north-eastern Honshu, the Sanriku Kahoku news paper ran a story at the beginning of February covering the thoughts of people related to coastal whaling in the region.
Report accepting coastal whaling released (2009.02.04)
IWC Small Working Group
Continued whaling not guaranteed - "Frankly not pleased" Katsushika, Ishinomaki
The article reports that the chair of the IWC's SWG, De Soto, released his report which suggests allowing coastal whaling that Japan has been requesting in exchange for Japan scaling back its special permit whaling in the Antarctic. It noted that this is a compromise plan to address the conflict between whaling and anti-whaling nations, however at the whaling town in Ishinomaki city's Katsushika area:
... the report's contents have been taken in with complicated feelings. "We're not able to throw both arms up in the air in delight about this".
The article mentions that the report notes that for 5 years, 4 Japanese whaling towns including the one in Katsushika would be permitted to take an as yet unspecified number of minke whales, under conditions such as the whaling involving day trips with less than 5 vessels engaged.
As for beyond the next 5 years, the report described two options of banning whaling or continuing it.
On the other hand, as for Antarctic special permit whaling, two plans were described including the gradual cessation of minke whale catches and the total ban of fin whale catches.

Keiichi Endo, the 51 year old president of Ishinomaki's "Ayukawa Hogei (Whaling)" company which was established last year in February, said "At the current time I can't say that I agree with the report. Will Japan be able to accept the total banning of research whaling in the Antarctic? The report doesn't guarantee research will be continued from the 6th year onwards", he points out.

Mayor of Ishinomaki city, Kimio Doi, expressed a cautious position, saying "I can't comment at this stage. I'll be following developments in the debate at the IWC".

Mayor Doi had attended the June 2007 meeting of the IWC in Anchorage. The next month in July Ishinomaki city held the first national whale forum, where the "Ishinomaki declaration" was adopted, requesting Japan to unilaterally allow a resumption of small-type coastal whaling.

To that extent, the region welcomes the resumption of coastal whaling, however there is dissatisfaction as well. "Since the 1988 commercial whaling moratorium, there has been no progress at the IWC towards resuming whaling."
In another article at the similarly named Kahoku news site (seems to be offline now, but the title was "「期待せず」「議論見守る」沿岸捕鯨再開IWC報告書"), both were quoted again.
Keiichi Endo, president of "Ayukawa Hogei" based in Ayukawa port that owns two of the small-type coastal whaling vessels rejected the report, saying "I can't expect anything from it". He expressed concern that on top of either scaling back research whaling or stopping it in 5 years, from the 6th year onwards there was still the possibility of small-type coastal whaling being banned as well.

"I do agree with reducing the number of whales caught in research whaling and increasing the quota for small-type coastal whaling, but that's not to say I'm for reducing research whaling to zero. Continuing both is best", he asserts.
Mayor Doi is quoted here again saying similar things.

* * *

It doesn't bode well for the IWC discussions if even those in Japan such as Mr. Endo, who would possibly gain most from a compromise package, are not happy with it.

If free time eventuates I'd like to introduce the Fisheries newspaper article mentioned above, in a future post, but perhaps what develops in March will preclude my motivation to do this - let's see.

* * *

So what are the pictures included in this blog? On the weekend after this report was released by the IWC, I was on the snowy slopes of Mt. Zao bordering between Miyagi and Yamagata prefectures, and coincidentally a friend of mine was also in Sendai, Miyagi's capital at the same time. Originally from Hokkaido where they often eat whale at New Year's, she's one of a "whale eating" circle we started up a few years back.

Anyway, she spotted whale on the menu at a Sendai izakaya restaurant (Kochira Marutoku Gyogyobu) and sent me the pics and shop location.

They have a chain of restaurants centred in Miyagi, but they also have restaurants in Yamagata, Akita and Morioka (main cities of surrounding prefectures) as well.

On the web (Japanese)

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