August 7, 2000 - Anti-whaling nations such as the United
States are becoming increasingly dissatisfied over the Japanese
government's decision to broaden the range of whales it catches for
research purposes from this fiscal year.
When U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright met
Foreign Minister Yohei Kono late last month, she hinted at the United
States imposing sanctions on Japan and called for a halt to Tokyo's
so-called experimental whaling.
Some fear the issue may trigger a new conflict between
the two nations.
According to the Fisheries Agency, Japan will catch 10
sperm whales and 50 Bryde's whales in addition to the 100 minke whales
that it has been catching for research purposes in the northwestern
Pacific Ocean for the last six years.
It will be the first time in 13 years that sperm and
Bryde's whales have been caught. Six whaling vessels left for the
Pacific on July 29.
The agency expanded the types of whales to be caught
after fishing industry experts pointed out that sperm whale numbers had
increased and supplies of the fish that they feed on had fallen as a
The agency decided to expand the range of whales to be
caught to conduct research on the whale's habitat, assist the nation's
fishing industry by estimating the numbers of each type of whale in the
Sea of Japan and neighboring areas, and conduct general research on the
ecosystem of whales.
The United States and Europe oppose this policy and have
expressed serious concern over the matter.
According to the Foreign Ministry, after Japan reported
its plan to expand research-purpose whaling in mid-April to the
International Whaling Commission, several countries protested that Japan
should never be allowed to expand its whaling practices. In particular,
people in the United States are strongly opposed to hunting sperm whales
-- the same kind of whale that was featured in U.S. author Herman
Melville's novel "Moby Dick."
Copyright 2000 The Yomiuri Shimbun
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A leading U.S. senator urged
President Bill Clinton on Wednesday to consider imposing sanctions
against Japan to protest a hotly contested whale hunt in the north
Pacific. Despite opposition from President Bill Clinton, British Prime
Minister Tony Blair and leading environmental groups, a Japanese whaling
fleet set out last weekend to hunt large sperm and Bryde's whales, two
species protected under U.S. law. The Japanese already hunt the minke
"It seems clear that Japan is testing the resolve of our
opposition. And it seems just as clear that we must respond
authoritatively," said Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, the ranking
Democrat on the Senate Government Affairs Committee. "Given the threat
to the sperm, minke and Bryde's whales, I urge President Clinton to
closely examine the sanctions available under U.S. law if Japan
continues to ignore international standards," Lieberman added in a
statement. U.S. officials said the Clinton administration could impose
trade sanctions against Japanese fishery products and other goods,
though they stressed that a number of other options were available.
Japan gave up commercial whaling in compliance with an
international moratorium in 1986 but has engaged in research whaling
since 1987. The practice has drawn fire from the World Wildlife Fund and
anti-whaling nations, who see Japanese research as an end-run around the
moratorium because the flesh ends up in the market for human
consumption. Japan is the largest consumer of whale meat in the world.
Under U.S. law, the Secretary of Commerce will review Japanese actions
and make recommendations to the president, who could then impose trade
sanctions or other retaliatory measures on Japan.
FROM PROGRESSIVE ANIMAL WELFARE SOCIETY
PAWS Advocacy Director Will Anderson recently returned
from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting and explained
that the Japanese government's disregard for public opinion regarding
whaling is due in large part to the U.S government position on Makah
whaling. Over the objections of many IWC commissioners, the Clinton
Administration forced through a Makah grey whale quota by sidestepping
normal IWC criteria and procedures. The Makah aboriginal request fails
the subsistence needs test and created the new category of cultural
whaling. Japan and many other countries have long wanted to initiate
their own cultural whaling plans and are now able to do it as a result.
"Regulated" global commercial whaling is likely to resume beginning with
the IWC 2002 meeting in Japan. For questions or more information, please
contact Will Anderson at (425) 787-2500 x811 or [email protected]
FROM OCEAN DEFENSE INTERNATIONAL
ODI Condemns Japanese Whale Hunt
Less than one month after being shot down by the
International Whaling Commission in their bid to expand their
“scientific whaling”, Japan’s whaling fleet is now headed to the
Northern Pacific to hunt sperm and Bryde’s whales. Japan continues to
defy international law and continues commercial whaling despite the
“Ocean Defense International condemns this illegal hunt
and feels the United States and the United Kingdom should not only
threaten sanctions but should send military forces to stop the fleet,”
ODI president Jonathan Paul stated today.
Most species of whales were brought to near extinction
by humans hunting them until the moratorium went into effect in 1986.
Japan and Norway continue to hunt whales despite the moratorium. Despite
the alarming rate of strandings and populations of a number of species
of whales on the decrease, whaling countries have been pushing hard to
lift the moratorium, including giving financial aid to small-island
nations to obtain votes in both CITIES and IWC meetings.
“We are very concerned about the condition of ocean
eco-systems and with the precarious condition of all whale species,”
Paul stated. “Furthermore, many countries are backing the Revised
Management Scheme (RMS) to allow commercial whaling, including the
United States with the blessing of Al Gore. Gore’s camp claims the RMS
will regulate whaling and less whales will be killed. Yet the moratorium
currently in effect has not stopped Japan and Norway. How can we control
regulated whaling when we cannot even control a total ban on whaling?”
ODI has been opposing the Makah whale hunt since the
fall of 1998 with its fleet of coastal boats. ODI has asserted that this
hunt will open the door to commercial whaling around the globe and it
seems that this is just around the corner.
“If the governments around the world cannot enforce the
law involving the illegal take of whales, I guess we are going to have
to do it ourselves,” Paul said. “We are in the process of obtaining a
ship to do this. We are in the next great mass extinction on the planet.
Our goals are to have a global moratorium and a world ocean sanctuary
for all whales, dolphins and other marine species.”
Ocean Defense International
PO Box 401
Williams, OR. 97544
Source: [email protected] (Dan Spomer)
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