National

Japan considers bill to continue public aid for commercial whaling

JIJI

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Tuesday approved a plan to introduce a bill to continue providing public aid for commercial whaling, which the country resumed July 1 after a 31-year hiatus.

The party aims to have the bill submitted to the current session of the Diet as lawmaker-initiated legislation, with backing from groups within the LDP so that it will go into effect by the end of the year.

The aid for commercial whaling comes as catch limits render the practice unprofitable.

The proposed bill seeks to provide state support for promoting technologies related to catching and processing whales in an effort to wean commercial whaling off public subsidies.

The move is apparently a nod to the fisheries industry, which fears possible reductions in the state funding it is allocated.

The deployment of ships to crack down on acts of obstruction by foreign anti-whaling organizations was also included in the bill.

In response to opponents of whaling, such as countries in Europe, the United States and Australia, Japan has set catch quotas calculated using scientific data on whales, and continues to submit to the International Whaling Commission data on the number of whales confirmed through research in the Antarctic Ocean.

Japan’s government withdrew from the IWC in June due to what Tokyo saw as insurmountable rifts between Japan and countries opposed to commercial whaling.