What surprised me the most in the recent whaling incident (Jan. 16) between pro-environment campaigners and Japan was the slowness of the Japanese media to address the issue. Shockingly, there was no official comment or report written in English that foreign people might access for general Japanese opinions.
After the incident (in which two activists boarded a harpoon ship) was reported as a “kidnapping” in Australia, it wasn’t until the Japanese whaling committee issued an official comment that the tone of the Australian media seemed to change.
The Sea Shepherd conservation group appears to know how to manipulate the media to enhance its argument that whalers are “criminals” etc. There is never any discussion on the rights of whalers to employment, or a detailed discussion of Japan’s cultural ties to whaling. Some Western media articles address this, but they get lost in the noisy hysteria over whale deaths.
It is a shame that the whalers are not Western-media savvy. If these two activists had been met, and their letter received and sent back, in the spotlight of cameras, the whalers would have appeared humanized. Japan is a country with a First World media, so it needs to take on Western bias in the Western media.