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Whales ...1 - In Response To Japan Whaling Assoc.

whales ...1

By Sue Arnold

So, the Japan Whaling Association believes the comments by the new Government of Australia in relation to the so-called scientific whaling program are " provocative and absurd".

The President of JWA claims that anti whaling nations have sacrificed science based management for political expediency to satisfy non-government organizations.

Mr Nakajima must have a very short memory. Or be completely blind to the reasons why anti whaling nations are up in arms over the latest self awarded Japanese quota of l7,000 Minke whales, 800 Fin and 800 Humpbacks over the next 16 years.

It is no exaggeration to say that Japan's continuing and exponentially increasing slaughter of whales in the face of world wide protest could lead to massive extinctions. No whale population has recovered sufficiently to cope with this level of killing.

Look no further than Japan's whaling history which is outrageous. Japan has plundered and raped the world's whale populations - which are recognised as the collective heritage of all humankind - without one shred of remorse or responsibility. In the 21st Century, the rape will continue until an anti whaling nation finally has the balls to stand up to the bullying by Japan in the International Law of the Sea Tribunal.

From 1934 to 1942, tens of thousands of blue, fin, sei, humpback and right whales were ruthlessly slaughtered by the Japanese fleets in Antarctic waters for their edible oil which was sold in Europe for hard currency. All of the whale meat was thrown overboard. The funds from the massacre were used to purchase German and British arms and war material for the expansion of the Japanese empire.

All Antarctic pelagic fleets were owned by the Nippon Suisan Company whose principle objective was the acquisition of foreign currency and food supplies for the Japanese armed forces. After three years, Japan accounted for more than 11 per cent of pelagic whaling.

In l941, Japanese Antarctic fleets harpooned 2,394 humpback whales, taking advantage of an expired ban on hunting the species. Japan did not confine its whale slaughter to the waters of Antarctica.

For four years beteween 1964 and 1968, the Japanese whalers killed 690 blue whales in Chilean waters taking as well 13 humpbacks and 3 right whales. Japan also slaughtered 1,600 fin and sei whales and 1,500 sperm whales, all outside the IWC quota system.

The Japanese Fisheries Agency's illegal whaling operations in Chile were shut down in 1968 when the blue and fin whales reached commercial extinction. Japanese pirate operations were finally stopped when the US threatened economic sanctions.

Japan's claim that its scientific whaling program is allowed under the IWC convention is a mis-interpretation of the convention. Meetings of the IWC Scientific Committee have repeatedly condemned Japanese whaling over the last 16 years.

The IWC has no powers to prevent Japan from whaling.

But other relevant conventions do have powers. Legal experts say Japan is in violation of a raft of international treaties which include the United Nations Law of the Sea; the Convention on Conservation of Marine Living Resources, the Antarctic Treaty, the Madrid Protocol, the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species, the Convention on Migratory Species, the Convention on Biodiversity as well as certain provisions of the Vienna Convention.

Japan's whaling program is about making changes in interspecific competition by severely reducing the number of minke whales. Thus increasing the available food supply, according to Japanese scientists, for more economically attractive species such as the blue whale . Japan is in the process of altering the Antarctic marine ecosystem for its own purposes. An intolerable international legal and scientific situation.

Saving whales is not about abusing the cultural rights of Japanese. Saving whales is about our collective humanity survival in the face of multiple serious threats to the ocean environment. It's about one small and incredibly powerful country learning that not only are we all connected environmentally, but to survive on Planet Earth we need to work with each other and where necessary, make sacrifices for the common good.


Sue Arnold is co-ordinator of Australians for Animals Int. a Byron Bay Australia based international IWC NGO. PO Box 673, Byron Bay. 2481, Australia.



President of the Japan Whaling Association responds to Australia


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