Japan will never stop whaling: fisheries chief

by Harumi Ozawa

AFP-JIJI

Fisheries minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said Japan will never stop hunting whales despite fierce criticism from other nations and violent clashes at sea with militant conservationists.

“I don’t think there will be any kind of an end for whaling by Japan,” he said Tuesday.

Hayashi, who took the ministerial post overseeing the country’s whaling program in December, said criticism of the practice is “a cultural attack, a kind of prejudice against Japanese culture.”

There is “a long historical tradition about whaling” he said in his office, graced with portraits of the Emperor and Empress.

“Japan is an island nation surrounded by the sea, so taking some good protein from the ocean is very important. For food security, I think it’s very important,” he said. “We have never said everybody should eat whale, but we have a long tradition and culture of whaling. So why don’t we at least agree to disagree? We have this culture and you don’t have that culture.”

Unlike Norway and Iceland, which openly flout the 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling agreed through the International Whaling Commission, Japan hunts using a loophole that allows for lethal scientific research. But it makes no secret of the fact that the mammals ultimately end up on menus.

Hayashi, a graduate of the prestigious Kennedy School at Harvard University who first entered the Diet in 1995, considers the whaling port of Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, his hometown. The 52-year-old said Japan is tired of being lectured by nations whose own culinary cultures can seem a little off-color.

“In some countries they eat dogs, like Korea. In Australia they eat kangaroos. We don’t eat those animals, but we don’t stop them from doing that because we understand that’s their culture,” Hayashi said in fluent English.

“Whaling has long been part of traditional Japanese culture, so I just would like to say ‘please understand this is our culture.’ “

Australia and New Zealand in particular voice outrage over Japan’s annual expeditions in the Antarctic in an area the IWC considers a sanctuary for the ocean giants.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has chased the Japanese fleet off Antarctica for several years in an attempt to stop the mammals being slaughtered.

In the latest clash Monday, veteran antiwhaling campaigner Paul Watson claimed the factory ship Nisshin Maru rammed the Sea Shepherd vessel Bob Barker.

On its website, the Institute of Cetacean Research said several Sea Shepherd boats had slammed into the Nisshin Maru as the vessel attempted to refuel from her supply tanker.

“It was five hours of intense confrontation,” Watson said from the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin.

“We took up our positions to block their approach to the (fuel tanker) Sun Laurel and they rammed the Bob Barker twice, causing considerable damage, and then they pushed it into the side of the Sun Laurel,” he said.

Watson said the Japanese threw stun grenades and fired a water cannon at his boat and damaged another Sea Shepherd vessel, the Sam Simon, but there were no injuries to Sea Shepherd crew.

The Institute of Cetacean Research said the Japanese vessels were “again subject to sabotage by the Sea Shepherd ships Steve Irwin, Bob Barker and Sam Simon.”

“During their obstruction to refuelling operations, the Sea Shepherd vessels rammed into . . . the Nisshin Maru and the supply tanker,” it said. “During the attack, the Nisshin Maru used her water pump as a preventive measure to make Sea Shepherd vessels refrain from further approaching, and repeatedly broadcast a warning message to stop them.”

  • phu

    The US has a strong automotive tradition as part of its culture, but that doesn’t mean they can’t or shouldn’t change it because of the harmful environmental effects of emissions. “This is our culture” is not an excuse to hunt endangered or at-risk animals into extinction.

    It’s too bad the loudest voices against this behavior are the Sea Shepherd lunatics. It takes a valid message and makes all of its proponents look similarly insane.

    • doobieibood

      I agree with your assessment of the Sea Shepherd antics, but which whale is being hunted into extinction?

      • WithMalice

        What’s with the questions? You don’t seek answers – you already have your very firm opinion on who’s right and who’s wrong.

      • doobieibood

        This is not a ‘right-wrong’ distinction. Like all things in life, it is a grey and murky problem. The question is a valid one — are the whales being hunted into extinction? That would obviously change the situation. It also serves to highlight some stridently anti-whaling viewpoints — perhaps being misguided? And also perhaps not being equitable to all other species. If the question is one of extinction or over fishing, then perhaps we should be attacking nearly every fishing boat in the open seas.

      • WithMalice

        Exactly… it is a murky problem. And therein lies the issue: you already have your mind made up, regardless of what’s said.

  • WithMalice

    Ok… the bias present here is pretty interesting.

    “There is “a long historical tradition about whaling” he said in his office, graced with portraits of the Emperor and Empress.”
    - What the… how does what portraiture he has up in his office have anything to do with this, other than being a fairly transparent attempt to tie the whaling stance to Japanese culture? Come on…

    “Unlike Norway and Iceland, which openly flout the 1986 moratorium on
    commercial whaling agreed through the International Whaling Commission,
    Japan hunts using a loophole that allows for lethal scientific research.”
    - Really? How is what Japan is doing any less “flouting” than Norway/Iceland”? Scientific research? Oh please.

    “‘In some countries they eat dogs, like Korea. In Australia they eat
    kangaroos. We don’t eat those animals, but we don’t stop them from doing
    that because we understand that’s their culture,’ Hayashi said in
    fluent English.”

    - Err… so? First of all it’s not “cultural” that Kangaroo meat is eaten in Australia. I’m aghast at the mindset that Hayashi is presenting when he makes a comparison of the three animals (dogs, kangaroos and whales). He might have a point if the dogs/kangaroos were hunted down with harpoons and cruelly slaughtered. Additionally… who gives a proverbial if his archaic and confusing thoughts were presented in “fluent English”?

    “Whaling has long been part of traditional Japanese culture, so I just
    would like to say ‘please understand this is our culture.’ “
    - This is flat-out obnoxious. Stop pretending this has anything to do with “culture”.

    • doobieibood

      So the difference is in how they are dispatched? The Inuit can kill with harpoons but no one else? Dogs and Kangaroos and Cows are killed in harmonious ways that make things right? I understand many people don’t like killing whales, but have no problem with killing many other species, but you’ll have to have a better argument before I can accept your side. What makes a whale inherently different than any other creature killed for food?

      • Christopher-trier

        It’s a sign of our age. Emotions and “feelings” triumph over reason and thought. So long as one “feels” something it’s “true”, whether or not the “feeling” is grounded in fact is another matter altogether.

      • WithMalice

        Really?

        You’re going to draw an analogy between Inuits hunting whales in canoes with small harpoons within sight of the land… and mass hunting on the other side of the world by government-sponsored corporate Japan?
        Talk about a reach.

        And yup. As someone who grew up on a farm in rural Australia, there’s a massive distinction between the way a cow is slaughtered (not sure why the capitalization occurred for you), and the way a whale is hunted down.
        Perhaps do your own research on that?

        “Inherently different”? How about being pushed to the brink of extinction… how about relative intelligence…
        You’ve already made up your mind tho’. Anything further is wasted…

      • Bai Sheng

        Your comments are highly ethnocentrist. You don’t even realize that breeding animals and keeping them captive for their whole life with the sole purpose of slaughtering them, is far more cruel in Japanese mindset than hunting wild animals even with some brutal force. Animals that lived the life they were supposed to, free in the wild until they were hunted down by their natural predator…

      • WithMalice

        Oh FFS… really? “Japanese mindset”? WHICH Japanese!??
        The vast majority of Japanese I’ve spoken to are against spending tax payer dollars to do something that culturally they were never intended to do. NOTHING about the current whaling remotely resembles what the Japanese whalers used to do long, long ago.

      • OneGoneGirl

        Because now the whales are becomming endangered. That to me is a HUGE difference.

      • Bai Sheng

        FYI Minke Whales are now registred as LC (least concern)

      • WithMalice

        Point?

        Fact: the Japanese are conducting commercial whaling under the guise of scientific research (a lie), hunting whales in a manner that has no relevance to “cultural identity”, using misbegotten public funding, to garner meat that no-one will eat.
        How awesome.

      • http://www.facebook.com/wade.phillpott Wade Phillpott

        That’s been covered. Whales are not farmed in a controlled environment. Whales are extrrmely intelligent

      • http://www.facebook.com/wade.phillpott Wade Phillpott

        That’s already been covered. Whales are not farmed in controlled conditions protecting their numbers. Whales are tortured slowly to death and may escape to die a slower excruciating death with calves orphaned.
        Whales are highly optional extremely intelligent mammals.

  • Daniel Oliver Jost

    Oh yes Japan WILL stop whaling, and sooner than you think, my dear Honorable Minister Hayashi…

    1) First of all, fierce criticism has already started to form WITHIN Japan. Can it be that in your function as Minister you have not yet heard of the recent protests organized by groups such as Action for Marine Mammals? Or are you just (rather unskillfully) ignoring this aspect?

    2) Now to the “long historical tradition about whaling”: regarding small scale coastal whaling, certainly. Wasting tons of fuel and taxpayers’ money to go all the way to the Southern Ocean to whale however only started rather recently, in the 80s. So not too much history and tradition there…

    3) “Japan is an island nation surrounded by the sea, so taking some good protein from the ocean is very important. For food security I think it’s very important.”

    A typical argument of the baby-boomer generation. Piling up tons of whale meat in freezers because nobody wants it is CRIMINAL in today’s overpopulated world!

    4) “In some countries they eat dogs, like Korea. In Australia they eat kangaroos. We don’t eat those animals, but we don’t stop them from doing that because we understand that’s their culture.”

    You’re comparing farmed animals that are slaughtered in a controlled environment, to wild animals slaughtered in the wild Mr. Hayashi – not the same thing.

    5) “Whaling has long been part of traditional Japanese culture, so I just would like to say ‘please understand this is our culture’.”

    No, we shall not understand it, because it is not your culture. And let me know if you need some help on Japanese culture. (Perhaps you spent too much time at Harvard and have forgotten…)

    Kind regards from Switzerland,
    Daniel Jost.

    • irairaneko

      Kangaroos are not farmed.

      • http://www.facebook.com/wade.phillpott Wade Phillpott

        Yes they are. Wild kangaroos are not fit for human consumption. They are bloated with paradites and diseases and would taste crappy. Only farmed kangaroos may be sold as meat.

    • ddpalmer

      Would that be the fierce criticism that results in poll after poll showing more support for continuing whaling rather than stopping.

  • YY

    If you live outside Japan, you would already have been exposed to this load of BS from Joji Morishita, who also incidentally happens to be fluent. Now the Minister fluently proceeds to unload this bogus set of arguments supporting an idiotic policy. The less “inscrutable” the presentation the more transparently bogus it becomes. Calling out other “cultures” on their canine or marsupial diet, aside from being gratuitously provocative, has nothing to do with the Japanese government sponsoring of whale hunting that does not involve wooden boats, spears, within sight of land, but rather requires heavy marine equipment with refueling tankers on the other side of the earth. The “shimaguni” with no resources (protein no less) argument is a bad traditiononal meme, and I would have thought, would be before the minister’s time. As would the diet, best exemplified in school lunches (kyushoku) which used to feature the mystery meat of whale.

    This is almost as idiotic as US policy for Cuba. The parallels being a very small interest group hijacks the entire agenda to the detriment of overall interest.

    • Stephen Kent

      Very well said.

      • disqus_tPh0CJJcoh

        Japan will never stop whaling
        Japan wil never have friends

  • Aaron

    Dear Daniel:

    You fail to understand the history of Japanese whaling when you criticize its historical context. Japan hunted whales in its littoral waters for centuries until American whaling fleets came along and removed all of these whales. Hence, the Japanese have to continue their cultural tradition by moving farther afield to the Southern Ocean. In fact, the country was forced to open up by Admiral Matthew Perry so that Japan would be obliged to refuel American whaling ships and provide maritime assistance when required, similar to today’s Convention of the Law of the Sea.

    Moving on to your point about farmed animals, which is morally righteous:

    1. Inflicting pain on a wild animal for a few hours that results in its death.
    2. Keeping an animal captive for all of its life in what another species
    considers to be humane to it and then slaughtering it by what the other species considers to be merciful means.

    I suggest that you are a hypocrite if you think that the former is better than the latter.

    On your point about piling up whale meat in freezers as being criminal, it is a mere fraction of a percent of the food that is wasted annual by the hotel industries in Europe and North America. So, if you’re out to lecture people about food being wasted, try applying some standard economic theory by starting with those in your own backyard before you go after diminishing returns farther afield.

    Finally, with respect to your last point that “we shall not understand
    it”, rest assured that based on my experience of having lived in Japan for years, nobody there gives a which-way whether or not you “shall understand it”. So kindly put your energy into something more productive rather than wasting it on producing unsubstantiated, historically and factually incorrect vitriol against another culture that you clearly have no understanding about.

    Sincerely,

    Aaron

  • Aaron

    Dear Daniel:

    You fail to understand the history of Japanese whaling when you criticize its historical context. Japan hunted whales in its littoral waters for centuries until American whaling fleets came along and removed all of these whales. Hence, the Japanese have to continue their cultural tradition by moving farther afield to the Southern Ocean. In fact, the country was forced to open up by Admiral Matthew Perry so that Japan would be obliged to refuel American whaling ships and provide maritime assistance when required, similar to today’s Convention of the Law of the Sea.

    Moving on to your point about farmed animals, which is morally righteous:
    1. Inflicting pain on a wild animal for a few hours that results in its death.
    2. Keeping an animal captive for all of its life in what another species
    considers to be humane to it and then slaughtering it by what the other species considers to be merciful means.

    I suggest that you are a hypocrite if you think that the former is better than the latter.

    On your point about piling up whale meat in freezers as being criminal, it is a mere fraction of a percent of the food that is wasted annual by the hotel industries in Europe and North America. So, if you’re out to lecture people about food being wasted, try applying some standard economic theory by starting with those in your own backyard before you go after diminishing returns farther afield.

    Finally, with respect to your last point that “we shall not understand
    it”, rest assured that based on my experience of having lived in Japan for years, nobody there gives a which-way whether or not you “shall understand it”. So kindly put your energy into something more productive rather than wasting it on producing unsubstantiated, historically and factually incorrect vitriol against another culture that you clearly have no understanding about.

    Sincerely,

    Aaron

    • marcus

      Id take the view that pointing out other disgraceful ways other countries use animals should not be an excuse for the way you treat animals. So i beat my dog to death because the guy down the road beat his cat to death. And ive always beaten dogs to death because its my “culture” ive done it for years.There is a ton of things we as humans are unaware of or just becoming aware of. Scientist studying some fish say that they have found fish can do complex tasks and feel pain similar to humans. I think we over estimate how much we truly know about other species. As for Australians eating Kangaroo. My family live North of Brisbane on the Sunshine coast and have never and dont know of anybody who would ever hunt or eat Kangaroo. I guess people do but most are appalled by the thought. And there are groups inside Australia trying to get it stopped.

    • Darryl McGarry

      Aaron,

      It sounds like you should get out of Japan to see the light. While I comprehend much of what you say is true from a Japanese perspective, for the rest of us it is not necessarily so.

      The arguments you proffer are typical Japanese nonsense arguments. We can hunt whale, it is argued. Why? Because you hunt kangaroo!
      We Japanese seriously want free trade with everyone as long as we can protect our rice industry and what have you with high tarrifs. Why? They are instinscially important to Japan and Japanese culture.
      I have heard all those nonsense arguments before.
      Those arguments are a bit one-sided, don’t you think?

      Where is the causal connection that links whales and kangaroos? Like Hayashi, I think you will have to push the tired, old, propaganda line about the unquestionable purity and righteousness of Japanese culture a little harder to try and sound convincing.

      Following the same logic, by the way, Japanese should not hunt and attack and kill innocent animals in foreign waters. Why? Because Japan has not properly come to terms with its bloody, imperial past where it hunted and attacked and killed innocent human beings.

      So, stop whaling, Japan!

      I think living in Japan has corrupted you.

      We can talk about that over ocha down at Yasukuni Shrine. I think that should agree with your sensibilities.

    • OneGoneGirl

      The way I see it is that the whales are in real trouble, they are going to go extinct. It is the morality of situation at this point. If the Japanese can’t see that, to me that is the best reason to try stop them. I would like to see support of the Conservation Society from all governments to pressure them into stopping whaling. It would even be better if the Japanese government had a “replace what you take” policy. But to thumb their noses at the plight of the whales being gone forever is wrong.

  • Ben

    whaling is a loss-making venture in japan, funded by the japanese taxpayer. as soon as japanese citizens learn that their money is being handed over to the people to go get food that they can’t even sell well below cost price, the whaling will end.

  • Mike W

    Tradition or culture should never be a justification to kill anything. Traditionally…. if your neighbouring country believed in a different imaginary being, you would invade them, kill all their men, rape their women, enslave their children and burn their villages to the ground. Doesn’t mean it’s right, and it doesn’t mean those of us who are more evolved shouldn’t do whatever we can to stop it from happening again. With regards to Australia eating kangaroos… They are at least plentiful. I personally am vegetarian however and don’t believe anyone should eat any kind of meat. It is not necessary and so many of our planet’s problems would be solved if our species moved on from its carnivorous, barbaric, ‘traditional’ past.

  • Stephen Kent

    Many countries have a tradition of whaling but don’t do it anymore, so I don’t see why the Japan government gets so touchy about this particular “tradition”, especially since it is loss making and funded using public resources despite there being no demand for it.
    No mammal should be consumed if you can’t farm it humanely.

    • OneGoneGirl

      I understand that the Japanese hunt whales under a loophole citing “scientific research”. Perhaps that legal loophole needs to be closed, could it be that simple?

      • Stephen Kent

        Yes, I suppose that altering the clause that allows for scientific research so that it has stricter requirements (catch quotas, publishing of results, intended use of data, period of research etc) might force the Japanese whaling industry to openly state that it is actually whaling commercially – even though everyone already knows that’s what they are doing. This probably wouldn’t be the end of the problem, but it would be a step in the right direction I feel.

  • Frank Thornton

    I say it will stop. Leaving the right or wrong, culture or not
    out, it’s just not profitable. I’velived in Japan for a total of over 25 years and have not once ever heard anyonesay “Hey, let’s go out and have some whale!”
    I do see it on the menu at a few places but not often where the younger
    people would go. I see it at thesupermarkets but just a few packs at the most.
    Nothing compared to any of the other fish on the shelves. I say that the only reason it’s being sold atan affordable price is because of the government funding. If it were strictly a supply and demandsituation, then I say there is no future to whaling. I really think that they should end the “research”game and say openly that it’s commercial whaling. If it’s strictly commercial, then the governmentfunding should end. Then we will see how willing the whalers are to go to the southern seas to catch whale for a profit.

  • Stephen Kent

    A brief history of whaling in Japan as Mr. Hayashi probably sees it:

    “Archeological evidence in the form of whale remains discovered in burial mounds suggests that whales have been consumed in Japan since factory ships were introduced in 1500B.C. when the population was exactly the same as it is today and every last person ate whale meat all the time. As whale catches diminished in coastal waters through no fault of their own, Japan whalers looked to Antarctica for traditional and not economic reasons. Refrigerator ships hand crafted from bamboo were sent along to freeze and transport the meat back to Japan who would have had absolutely no source of protein were it not for this whaling operation. This tradition has continued in its original form, unchanged and highly popular, from ancient times until today. “

  • http://www.facebook.com/johnspiri John Spiri

    To me, it comes down to territory: Neither the Japanese whalers, nor the environmentalists, own the whales. Neither has the right to say that it’s fine to kill them (due to “culture”, under a smoke screen of research, or whatever), or it’s “wrong” to kill them because they’re intelligent, or the method is cruel, or whatever. Well, they have the right to say it, but it’s just an exchange of viewpoints even tho both sides try to make it sound like God talking for Eternity. It is a point to say, for example, Australians kill kangaroo whether foreigners like it or not–but with one crucial difference. Roos are in Australia, but the whales are in neutral waters. I think of it like a public park. If some people want to cut down public park trees for firewood, and others want them preserved, it’s a problem, a conflict, but in the case of public lands, I think the value of preservation outweighs the desires of a small group of people to kill that publically shared resource. For whatever reason the whales around Japan disappeared (and it seems dubious to simplistically blame Americans of over 100 years ago for decimating them when so many Japanese supposedly so busy hunting them) so to the extent Japanese (better said small groups of Japanese coastal fishermen) had a whaling tradition, the tradition has ended. Of course, by this argument, I have to admit that Japan has the right to kill dolphins in Wakayama. Regrettably, they do have that right, however barbaric we may think it is.

    • WithMalice

      So… ownership of the whole planet, huh?
      Anything is justified…

    • KM, Tokyo

      There is no shortage of whales in Japanese waters. Japan has repeatedly asked the IWC to exchange permission to whale commercially in its own coastal region for its current scientific whaling programme in international waters. At the last IWC meeting they even offered to give up ALL whaling outside Japanese waters in return for the formal authorization of whaling in Japanese waters. Some “neutral” commentators even said they believed that Japan was hoping to use this as an “exit strategy”, by which it refuses to be bullied into accepting another country’s ethical standards, but once given formal permission, it could then stop whaling voluntarily and claim that it had proven its point.

      In each case the anti-whaling extremists prevented such a deal from happening. So the fact that Japan does its whaling in international waters is entirely the responsibility of those who rejected the coastal whaling quid pro quo.

      NB: I know that everyone refuses to admit the fact, today, but there are numerous documents on file at the IWC to show that anti-whaling nations SPECIFICALLY CREATED the scientific loophole in order to get Japan to agree to the initial moratorium. (otherwise they would have refused, and together with Norway and Iceland and other supporters, would have prevented the IWC from ever being created in its current form). It took less than three years for people to start bashing Japan for “exploiting” the loophole that had specifically been created in order to bring them on board.

      Personally, Im a vegetarian and I think whaling is wrong. Period. But I also realise that I have no right whatsoever to impose my opinions and values on others. If I did, then I would feel obliged to impose my Hindu values on Aussies, Kiwis, Americans and the like. For example I could buy a Humvee and go tearing around the outback throwing acid in the faces of cattle ranchers and ramming into abbatoirs to prevent their operation.

      Would I be justified in doing that?
      If not, then why not? Please enlighten me

      • WithMalice

        So… because it’s “tradition” and “someone else’s values”, anything is justifiable?
        That’s a bit of a reach Ken.

      • http://www.facebook.com/haze.ventura Haze Ventura

        I don’t really get it – if there is no shortage in Japanese waters, why don’t they hunt for “scientific purposes” there then?
        And the comparison with kangaroos and dogs makes very little sense. Let a side that no one has ever heard of Aussies and Koreans hunting kangaroos or dogs in Japan, both these species aren’t considered endangered.

        But anyway, I have also high hopes that Japan indeed will soon stop whaling for good. If it wasn’t for government dictated propaganda, they probably would already have, but the average Japanese citizen simply doesn’t know that he is subsidizing the whale hunt out of his Tsunami funds or that his children get fed mercury poisoned whale meat without his knowledge. It is to hope that in times of the internet these facts can’t be kept secret for long and the forming opposition to whaling within Japan surely points that way.

        Since the whalers are all about tradition, I’d also like to remind them of the great Japanese tradition of Seppuku. In face of the recent defeat against a bunch of hippie pirates and the fact they have repeatedly brought shame on themselves, their families and their country it seems a very valid option and surely would save some whales.

    • OneGoneGirl

      The Japanese have been fishing whales in an area that is supposed to be a sanctuary. That right there is a valid point to stop the slaughter.

  • Phillip

    The minister is ignorant of history.

    In all Australian colonies, whaling was a very important industry contributing to the wealth of the growing populations. The City of Melbourne, for example, still has on its Coat of Arms: the fleece, the bull, the whale and the ship; representing wool, tallow
    and oil, the chief exports of 1843, and their means of transport from
    Port Phillip.

    Australia stopped whaling in the 1970′s, with no ill-affects on their cultural identity or heritage. Instead, they built for themselves a multi-billion dollar industry in whale watching.

  • taytelbaum

    It has nothing to do with culture and this poor defense should modernize the Japanese culture to higher standard of humanity.

  • taytelbaum

    Additional to previous post. If man hunted animals or sea animals of deeper and more obscurer nature, like in the perils of the seas, that may have been a different debate. And brave too! Culture in Japanese may sound a strong term, but in the English language that is similar to weakness or something in constant change/ trends.

  • Karina1

    You only have to see the videos to see that the Japanese whalers rammed the Sea Shepherd ships claiming the contrary is pathetic.

    This insistence of slaughtering whales in the Antarctic makes Japan look barbaric in the eyes of the rest of the world.
    Fine, they don`t care but they cannot ignore that we, the people of the world
    love whales and dolphins and will never give up saving them from people like
    the Japanese, Norwegians, Danes and Icelanders etc.

    Cetaceans are as intelligent as humans, in fact, they are probably much nicer beings too.

    • KM, Tokyo

      Are you serious? The whalers rammed the Sea Shepherd?

      One would have to be very naiive to believe that.

      The Sea Shepherd boat is – based on the group’s own boasts – far faster and more maneuverable than the much larger and heavier whalers. How did their vessel contrive to get “trapped” between one large whaler and one large refeuling tanker?

      I dont suppose it was because they were trying to prevent the tanker from refueling the whaler, and thereby putting everyones lives (on all three ships) at risk. No, they would never do anything that, would they?

      Oh wait . . . .
      http://www.earthraceconservation.org/news/pete-bethune-refutes-turncoat-allegation-watson

      • WithMalice

        C’mon Ken. Yes, the Bob Barker was between the ships. Yes, the Sea Shepherd boats were out to blockade the ships from refueling.
        But just as much the whaling ships had the intent of getting REFUELED.
        I don’t necessarily justify the actions of the Sea Shepherd, but I do agree with their stance on being anti-whaling.
        You really don’t believe that there’s anything untoward in the actions of the whalers?

      • OneGoneGirl

        I think that the Sea Shepherd organization, whether some see their efforts as being disingenuous or not, effective or not, have done an important job in bringing this over hunting into the open. The whales belong to the world, not only to the Japanese.

    • Bai Sheng

      So obviously the Danes, Norwegians, Icelanders, Russian, Canadians, usa Citizens, Finnish, Faeroeans, Koreans and Japanese who hunt whales don’t qualify to be part of your people of the world…

  • WithMalice

    Well… according to reports coming through now, Japan’s stopped whaling. At least… for this season.
    http://www.theage.com.au/national/japanese-whalers-end-hunt-says-sea-shepherd-20130302-2fdcz.html

  • Koji

    This is not an argument about cultural or gastronomic taste. People eat much stranger things than whales all over the world. It is about conservation of the whale. Dogs and kangaroos are not endangered species. Whales are.

  • Piripi

    To put it simply, they are hunting whales in a sanctuary. Hunting them in other waters would not raise such a problem. Why can’t they come to a compromise? I thought the Japanese dislike going against the “group” opinion.

  • gnirol

    According to the minister, whaling, because it is a Japanese tradition from hundreds and thousands of years ago, must be preserved, all Japanese traditions, apparently, being good ones, while those of Korea or Australia can be bad. One certainly wouldn’t want to preserve bad traditions simply because they are traditional, would one? We must, then, bring back other traditions to make Japan a better place. Restore the aristocracy! How about moving the capital to Kyoto or Nara? How about isolating the “island nation” from most of the world? This tradition argument, used by conservatives everywhere, but only to support their pet projects, perfectly happy to crush tradition when it serves their purposes (is the minister for keeping women in the home and out of the workforce to preserve Japanese tradition) is totally unsupportable as it is employed inconsistently. It is not traditions Minister Hayashi seeks to preserve, but this tradition alone for totally different reasons than he proffers, which he prefers to obscure.