• Tokyo


Recent letters share a perceptive and valid view regarding the whaling issue. It all boils down to a clash of principle vs. sentiment — between Japan and antiwhaling groups — and to maneuvering by my Japanese government. Most agonizing are the heartless hunting practices that continue for the sake of a handful of thoughtless people who detest yielding to outside pressure, being singled out or setting a precedent for submission.

The Japanese whaling communities, together with the government, realize that there are no persuasive arguments for their hunting activities with respect to research, tradition and diet. Surely there must be humane methods for conducting whale research. The public is not informed of the real reason for this “research” or whether it is genuinely beneficial. As for tradition, we should not hold on to it when suffering is at stake. Tormenting beings to demonstrate tradition is not right. Meanwhile, reliable tests, as expected, show that cetacean eaters have high levels of mercury. Clearly whale meat is not part of the regular Japanese diet; we don’t crave it as we do bluefin tuna.

There exists a complete divergence of sentiments toward whales. The Japanese cannot fathom the magnitude of the deep attachment the antiwhaling groups have for whales: that the groups are acting purely for the welfare of whales, that they cannot bear to see these animals treated mercilessly. For its part, the Japanese government seems oddly detached from reality as it is unwilling to raise awareness of this divergence.

An overwhelming majority of the international community have voiced their outrage over hunting whales — not to mention dolphins. No matter how Japan looks at this, the outcry is loud and clear: Leave the whales alone!

junko mitsuyuki

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