U.S. denies whaling quid pro quo

Kyodo

The United States denied Tuesday it backed a Japanese proposal to resume coastal whaling in return for support for whaling by Alaskan aboriginals.

“We have not swapped any votes or made a linkage between the two,” State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said.

The International Whaling Commission on Monday endorsed a proposal to allow aboriginals in the United States and Russia to hunt up to 280 whales over a five-year period.

Japan opposed this proposal at the annual IWC meeting in Shimonoseki in May.

But at the latest meeting in Cambridge, Britain, it supported the proposal on condition that its scientific whaling data on whale resources be considered at future IWC meetings.

Participants at the Cambridge meeting rejected a Japanese resolution calling for discussion and an early conclusion over its request that four Japanese communities be allowed to catch 50 minke whales on an annual basis.

The U.S. and Russia threw their support behind the Japanese resolution.

Boucher welcomed Japan’s support for the aboriginal whaling proposal.

“We’re pleased that Japan, which acted to block the subsistence quota at the annual meeting last May, did not oppose the five-year quota at this meeting,” he said.

Boucher added that the U.S. supported the Japanese resolution because it was based on advice of the IWC scientific committee and was noncommercial in nature.