National

Kamei blasts IWC over its 'rigidity'

Yoshiyuki Kamei, minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, said Friday he was disappointed that the International Whaling Commission rejected a number of Japanese proposals at its annual meeting.

The rejections “reflect the rigidity of the IWC, as it has also rejected proposals by antiwhaling nations,” such as one to set up new whale sanctuaries, Kamei told reporters.

At the meeting held in the Italian resort city of Sorrento, the IWC turned down several proposals made by Japan, including one for lifting a ban on commercial whaling of minke whales and another for abolishing a whale sanctuary in the Antarctic Ocean. The meeting ended Thursday.

The IWC requires a minimum 75 percent vote before it can amend its rules, making it difficult for the passage of controversial proposals.

Kamei also indicated approval of a report on mad cow disease released Thursday by U.S. and Japanese experts and officials that acknowledged the technical limitations of blanket testing for the disease.

“The report clarified scientific views held by both countries,” he said. It will facilitate a higher-level meeting to be held in the future, he said.

The report says the two countries agreed “accumulated abnormal prion protein in younger animals is unlikely to be detected using current testing methods.”

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