Wellington, Thursday 2 May 2002: Greenpeace today called on Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, visiting New Zealand for bilateral discussions, to stop his country's whaling industry.
“Whaling is an unnecessary and unsustainable industry. The Japanese Government has spent more than Y40 billion in subsidies to the whaling industry and in buying votes with foreign aid at the International Whaling Commission (IWC),” said Greenpeace Oceans Campaigner Sarah Duthie.
“Greenpeace is calling on Prime Minister Koizumi to save face and stop whaling. Why waste money on a dying industry that only makes Japan unpopular in the rest of the world?”
The Fisheries Agency of Japan (FAJ) is campaigning for a resumption of commercial whaling in the lead up to the annual IWC meeting in the Japanese whaling town of Shimonoseki this month.
The FAJ has embarked upon an aggressive marketing campaign to increase the demand for whale meat, including free whale meat tastings. There is virtually no market for whale meat in Japan except as a luxury food.
“FAJ public relations spokespeople say that whaling is part of Japanese food culture, and the rest of the world has no right to tell Japan what to do. Our argument is not with the Japanese or their food culture, our argument is with the FAJ. The truth is whaling has always led to depletion of whale populations, and Japanese whaling has followed the same destructive course as other whaling nations,” said Duthie.
Greenpeace and New Zealanders opposed to whaling will gather outside the Duxton Hotel on Wakefield St where Mr Koizumi is staying, between 6:00-7:40pm.