• Kyodo

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The Japan branch of the international environmental group World Wide Fund for Nature would accept commercial whaling under certain conditions, according to a branch bulletin obtained Wednesday.

WWF Japan said that it could not oppose a resumption of commercial whaling if the targeted species are not endangered and resources are properly managed, according to its bulletin distributed to WWF Japan members.

The new view is expected to affect the long-standing debate between pro- and antiwhaling members at the annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, starting later this month.

WWF Japan said it “cannot deny the logic of the resumption of commercial whaling regarding non-endangered whale species” if several conditions are met.

These include acquiring sufficient data on the species’ populations and the establishment of a stringent management system to prevent excessive whaling, the bulletin says.

The IWC imposed a moratorium on commercial whaling in 1982.

Japan and Norway are seeking to resume commercial whaling, while other nations, including Britain, Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand, are fiercely opposed.

The bulletin says IWC meetings are too “bogged down in a long-running emotional conflict between pro- and antiwhalers to be able to realize its original purpose of managing whales properly.”

Regarding Japan’s so-called research whaling, the bulletin claims it has produced “clear scientific results.”

But it criticizes Japan’s claim that consumption by whales is to blame for the reduction of marine resources for human consumption, saying this view “lacks scientific evidence and damages confidence in the government.”

It calls on the Japanese government to express regret for previous overexploitation of whales and improper processing of data on whale catches.

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