Regarding Rowan Hooper’s Aug. 11 Natural Selections article, “In science terms, Japan has no need at all to kill whales“: I favor the discontinuation of such whaling — not because it’s unlikely that Japan’s claim will be upheld in the International Court of Justice or that Japan’s “commercial” whaling will be construed as the “scientific” type allowed by the International Whaling Commission.
No, the reason I favor discontinuation is simply that most Japanese no longer eat whale meat and will not do so in the future. Years ago, boys and girls ate it as part of school lunch; it was government policy. Now Japan’s whaling activities require a substantial amount of tax money that must be cut as soon as possible. Since the government cannot sell whale meat for profit, stocks of meat have piled up in refrigerated warehouses.
With respect to eating the meat of mammals, the Japanese used to be conservative. It is said that, in prehistoric times, the Japanese ate such meat but that they discontinued the practice after they accepted Buddhism. Even the now-common habit of eating beef and pork is not old. Mutton, horse meat and whale meat are offered only in special restaurants.
Then why don’t the Japanese discontinue whaling? Is it because their national pride has been hurt by the violent anti-whaling campaign in recent years? Or because of a stubborn nature, which prevents them from stopping something once started?
I think that Australians have the best argument for the peaceful discontinuation of Japan’s “scientific” whaling as opposed to an international court battle. Some Australians simply ask the Japanese: Would you rather eat whale meat or watch whales?
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.