Australia Joins 3 Nations in Condemning Japan’s Whaling

Australia has joined the United States, New Zealand and the Netherlands in condemning Japan‘s annual whale hunt in Antarctica which starts Friday.

Global environmental watchdog, Greenpeace, said around ¥2.3 billion ($30 million) was used to fund extra-security measures for the island country’s whaling fleet. However, Japanese officials have rubbished the claims, explaining that the extra funding allocated for the tsunami-recovery budget was used on the whaling programme with the intention of helping coastal communities.

The three nations warned of violent clashes, pointing to past confrontations by the U.S.-based environmentalist group, Sea Shepherd, with Japanese whalers on the open seas.

“We are deeply concerned that confrontations in the Southern Ocean will eventually lead to injury or loss of life among protesters, many of whom are nationals of our countries, and whaling crews,” the four nations said in a joint statement released by the U.S. State Department.

The four nations reiterated their being against commercial whaling hidden under the guise of scientific whaling and are disappointed with the recent departure of the Japanese whaling fleet for the Southern Ocean.

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Although an international treaty bans commercial whaling, Japan had been using since 1987 a loophole by saying it is performing lethal research on whales to prove its claim that there is a robust whale population. Most of the whale meat sourced by Japanese whalers end up being consumed in Japanese homes and dining establishments.

The target of the Japanese fleet is to catch 900 minke and fin whales this season, according to a report submitted by the Japanese government to the International Whaling Commission.

Greenpeace has accused the Japanese government of diverting $40 million intended for victims of the March 11 tsunami and earthquake to fund the whaling activities of three ships that left last week Shimonoseki in western Japan.

“It is absolutely disgraceful for the Japanese government to pump yet more taxpayer money on an unneeded, unwanted and economically unviable whaling programme, when funds are desperately needed for recovery efforts,” Greenpeace Japan Executive Director Junichi Sato told the Guardian.

The Japanese Fisheries Agency did not deny the report but even justified the use of the money since one of the towns devastated by the tsunami was a whaling port.


~ by FSVSF Admin on 15 December, 2011.

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