Japan’s decision to leave the International Whaling Commission (“Japan to leave IWC and resume whaling” in the Dec. 27 edition) is indeed a big blow to the global efforts in whale conservation.

To my mind there is an unfortunate clash of cultural conflicts between the two sides favoring and opposing deep sea whaling. The rest of the world fails to understand and appreciate the deep socio-cultural and socio-ethnic association of whaling with Japanese society; and at the same time Japan has failed to demonstrate a positive approach towards sustainable whale hunting so that both parties could be on the same page.

The Western media has unacceptably demonized Japan as the sole factor behind the endangerment of different whale species, while other anthropogenic factors such as marine plastic pollution, global warming and climate change, increased volume of marine traffic, and overall chemical pollution in the global marine ecosystem have not been appropriately highlighted even though these are even more serious factors endangering vulnerable marine mammals like whales.

Both sides need to respect each other’s sensitivities and sit together on a common platform to make comprehensive whale conservation policies and opt for sustainable whale hunting approaches.

Leaving an organization due to difference of opinion and objectives is not the right solution.


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.

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