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Japan Using Quake Budget for Whaling

Japan Using Quake Budget for Whaling


Japan is using 2.28 billion yen ($29.4 million) from its 12.1 trillion yen ($156 billion) extra budget passed last month to beef up security for its whaling fleet.

This comes after Australia refused to deploy its own ships to protect Japan’s fleet as it does “scientific research” by killing whales in the South Ocean Whale Sanctuary and 11 Latin American countries called on Japan to halt its whaling operations.

Japan said Friday it will sue the militant environmentalist group Sea Shepherd, whose activities caused the Japanese “scientists” to cut their hunt short a month early for the 2010-2011 season after catching only 172 whales, less than a fifth of their 1000 whale goal.

Fisheries Agency official Tatsuya Nakaoku used the convoluted argument that subsidizing the whaling industry will help the victims of the March 11 quake/tsunami/nuclear disaster, many of whom are still living in evacuation shelters.

Nakaoku said:

“The government will support the reconstruction effort of a whaling town and nearby areas. … This program can help it reconstruct food processing plants there… Many people in the area eat whale meat, too. They are waiting for Japan’s commercial whaling to resume.”

Note that by using the term “commercial whaling,” Nakaoku isn’t even pretending the country’s whaling is for scientific research. Commercial whaling was banned by a 1987 moratorium of which Japan is a signatory nation.

While the 2.28 billion yen allocated for the whalers is only a tiny fraction of the quake budget, the principal of the action is what matters. Japan’s so-called “research whaling” has been condemned by antiwhaling nations, scientists and environmentalists. Many people all over the world have donated money for Japan’s post-quake recovery, and continue to do so. By siphoning public funds from the quake victims to support the controversial whale hunt, some may interpret this as Tokyo signaling that the victims don’t in fact need any more money. This may prove to be an immensely irresponsible PR move on the part of the Japanese government.



Dustin Dye

Dustin Dye is the author of the YAKUZA DYNASTY series, available through the Amazon Kindle.

He lived in Okayama, Japan, where he taught English at a junior high school through the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program for three years. He is a graduate from the University of Kansas, where he received a bachelor's degree in anthropology.

His interest in Japan began in elementary school after seeing Godzilla fight Ghidorah, the three-headed monster. But it wasn't until he discovered Akira Kurosawa's films through their spaghetti Western remakes that he truly became fascinated in the people and culture of Japan.

He lives in Kansas with his wife, daughter and guinea pig.

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E-mail him: [email protected]