Whale meat as a health supplement or as a potential weapon in the fight against dementia — these are two of the novel ideas conjured up in Japan in a desperate attempt to keep alive the whale meat business with an eye to the future resumption of commercial whaling.

Balenine, a substance believed to be effective in combating fatigue and contained in abundance in whale meat, is the key to the survival initiative adopted by Kyodo Senpaku Co., a Tokyo-based whale meat processor and seller.

Kyodo Senpaku already produces dietary supplement products and nutritious drinks using whale-derived balenine as an ingredient. The company is also conducting research with Showa University on the possible use of balenine in the prevention of dementia.