'Killing people won't cut crime; there's no data to prove this'

Apr 8, 2007

'Killing people won't cut crime; there's no data to prove this'

The gallows, like much of the rest of Japan’s prison system, are shrouded in thick veils of government secrecy. Executions are timed to coincide with Diet [parliamentary] recesses to avoid protests from opposition lawmakers; prison guards are forbidden from discussing their work; and few ...

Japan's way of judicial killing

Apr 8, 2007

Japan's way of judicial killing

Japan’s application of the death penalty is cruel, secretive and out of step with much of the developed world, say its opponents. As a record 102 inmates now wait on death row for the hangman’s noose, in this JT review of the capital-punishment system, ...

One who has lived to tell the tale

Apr 8, 2007

One who has lived to tell the tale

When his body isn’t groaning under the weight of its 81 years, and the sun is shining in the skies over his native Kyushu, Sakae Menda sometimes forgets the ordeal he suffered and knows he is lucky to be alive. But most days, there ...

The Samurai Dolphin Man

Feb 21, 2007

The Samurai Dolphin Man

Ric O’Barry is one of the world’s best-known environmentalists. A former U.S. Navy diver, he later trained the five dolphins that played Flipper in the hit 1960s TV series of that name, before turning against dolphin captivity in 1970. Now aged 67, O’Barry has ...

Resentments sustain a moribund meat trade

Feb 11, 2007

Resentments sustain a moribund meat trade

Many environmentalists around the world hope that the whaling issue in Japan will simply fade with the now moribund industry. In Japan, though, the political prowhaling lobby has never been stronger. Japan’s domestic campaign is backed by the 98-strong Parliamentary Whaling League (PWL), whose ...

Feb 11, 2007

Vitriol vies with science

For journalists used to the smooth diplomatic hum of the global conference circuit, covering the poisonous annual meetings of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) is akin to being slapped in the face with a slab of week-old minke bacon. Government representatives from across the ...

The price of stalemate

Feb 11, 2007

The price of stalemate

One of the most controversial elements of Japan’s campaign to overturn the International Whaling Commission’s 1986 commercial whaling ban is the alleged use of official Overseas Development Aid to “buy” the votes of poorer IWC member-countries. That is an allegation vehemently denied by fisheries ...

Feb 11, 2007

From the inside looking out . . .

‘There are a number of factors, both biological and economic, which led the industry to destroy one whale species after another, even though the industry was dependent on their survival. Thus, the commercial whaling ban should be kept and not mixed up with the ...

Siege mentality fuels 'sustainability' claims

Feb 11, 2007

Siege mentality fuels 'sustainability' claims

At the government’s Fisheries Agency in Tokyo, which drives the prowhaling campaign in Japan, there is thinly disguised contempt for the antiwhaling finger-wagging of New Zealand, a country with boundless rich farmland and a tiny population to support. In contrast, Japan’s food self-sufficiency is ...

Feb 11, 2007

Deadlock is dominant in whaling's 'petty parlor game'

In light of the entrenched positions involved, the whaling issue appears hopelessly deadlocked as the prowhaling nations led by Japan, Iceland and Norway demand the right to return to commercial whaling from countries equally determined to resist them. Inside Japan, the government’s Fisheries Agency ...