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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 (FA) runs its own campaign almost completely free of critical scrutiny by the media or influence from the Foreign Office or other bodies that might urge compromise. Meanwhile, lawmakers back them at zero political cost and the tiny whaling industry happily survives on subsidies. The International Whaling Commission is impotent. Such is the strength of this collective lobby in Japan — and the IWC’s impotence — that some wonder whether the deadlock may continue forever.

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