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Cablegate: Whaling: Japan Rejects Proposal to Curtail Lethal

VZCZCXRO5378
OO RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #3197 3240742
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 190742Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8942
INFO RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA IMMEDIATE 2885
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA IMMEDIATE 1075
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA IMMEDIATE 9091
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA IMMEDIATE 3434
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE IMMEDIATE 4863
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO IMMEDIATE 1644
RUCPDC/NOAA NMFS WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS TOKYO 003197

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR D, G AND OES/OA - MHAYES/LPHELPS AND EAP/J
USDOC FOR NOAA/NMFS - CMCCARTY AND RWULFF

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EFIS SENV PREL IWC JA
SUBJECT: WHALING: JAPAN REJECTS PROPOSAL TO CURTAIL LETHAL
RESEARCH WHALING

REF: SECSTATE 116833

1. (SBU) Summary: Japan rejects Australia's proposal that
it curtail its lethal research whaling activity this year in
exchange for Australia's consideration of Japan's coastal
whaling proposal, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and
Fisheries (MAFF) Vice Minister Murakami told the DCM November
18. However, Murakami said Japan wants to continue its
dialogue with Australia on whaling. Ministry of Foreign
Affairs Economic Affairs Bureau Deputy Director General
Takase gave a similar response in a meeting with EMIN
November 12. Takase also said a "substantial change" in
Japan's research whaling was possible as part of a package
negotiated within the International Whaling Commission (IWC).
End summary.

2. (SBU) Using points in ref. the DCM asked MAFF Vice
Minister for International Affairs Hidenori Murakami to
consider Australia's propasal for Japan to curtail its lethal
research whaling in the Southern Ocean during the 2008/9
season in exchange for Australia's consideration of Japan's
coastal whaling proposal, during a November 18 meeting.
Murakami said the propoasl was not acceptable, but Japan
wants to continue its dialogue with Australia on whaling. He
expressed appreciation for IWC Chairman and U.S. Whaling
Commissioner Dr. William Hogarth's initiative to break the
stalemate within the IWC and said Japan would continue to
support his efforts in the IWC small-working group process.

3. (SBU) Ministry of Foreign Affairs Economic Affairs Bureau
Deputy Director General Yasuo Takase gave a similar response
in a meeting with EMIN November 12. He said Australian
Special Envoy Sandy Hollway visited Japan twice in October
and suggested Japan decrease the number of whales taken in
its research whaling program in exchange for Australian
"consideration" of Japan's small-type coastal whaling
program. Unfortunately, Takase said "consideration" by
Australia was not sufficient and Japan would need more
commitment from Australia.

4. (SBU) Takase said Japan will reach a conclusion that will
mean a "substantial change" in the level of its research
whaling. However, he said it would be done within the IWC as
part of a package that included concessions from the
anti-whaling countries. He said the anti-whaling countries
had not yet reciprocated for Japan's continued suspension of
the harvest of humpback whales. It would therefore be
difficult for Japan to decide unilaterally to reduce the
quota for its research whaling. Nevertheless, he did say the
current quota of 850 minke and 50 fin whales for Japan's
Antarctic research whaling was a ceiling, and the harvest
during the upcoming season could be below that number
depending on the conditions of the hunt and scientific advice.
SCHIEFFER

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