Regarding the April 6 AFP-JIJI article “Whale institute still justifying lethal research“: I believe a few points need to be raised.
First, as for Japan’s culture, if whaling is as traditional as some advocates claim, then why is it not being conducted by “traditional” means, such as by using hand-thrown harpoons? I don’t think a refrigerated processing ship with escort vessels meets this criteria.
Second, if whaling is a Japanese tradition, it should be conducted in Japanese coastal waters, if at all. Whaling in Antarctica is a 20th- century program, currently carried out in a whale sanctuary with nothing traditional about it. Many Australians are aggrieved that the same whales they see migrating past their coast — which bring in whale-watching tourism revenue — are being hunted in Antarctica.
Third, fisheries minister Yoshimasa Hayashi recently compared the eating of whale meat to Australians’ eating kangaroo. There is a big difference between Australia’s culling the kangaroo population to reduce damage to crops (the meat is eaten mainly by indigenous Australians) and Japan’s sending a taxpayer-subsidized whaling fleet to Antarctica to maintain Japanese culture.
In addition, most Japanese don’t care a fig for whale meat.
Perhaps it’s time to realize that traditions are sometimes best laid to rest. … Judging by the heroes’ welcome that Sea Shepherd vessels received in Melbourne recently, someday whaling will be.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.