Wednesday, February 27th 2013 - 05:44 UTC

Fisheries minister says Japan will never stop hunting whales “it’s part of our culture”

Japan's fisheries minister said Tuesday his country will never stop hunting whales, despite fierce criticism from other nations and violent clashes at sea with militant conservationists.

“We don’t condemn Koreans for eating dogs or Australians for eating kangaroos”, says Minister Hayashi

“I don't think there will be any kind of an end for whaling by Japan,” Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi told French news agency AFP.

Hayashi, who took the ministerial post overseeing the country's whaling programs in December, said the criticism of the practice is “a cultural attack, a kind of prejudice against Japanese culture”.

There is “a long historical tradition about whaling”. Japan is an island nation surrounded by the sea, so taking some good protein from the ocean is very important. “For food security I think it's very important” said Hayashi.

“We have never said everybody should eat whale, but we have a long tradition and culture of whaling.

”So why don't we at least agree to disagree? We have this culture and you don't have that culture“ he added.

Unlike Norway and Iceland, which openly flout the 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling agreed through the International Commission on Whaling Japan hunts using a loophole that allows for lethal scientific research.

Hayashi, a graduate of the prestigious Kennedy School at Harvard University who first entered parliament in 1995, said Japan was tired of being lectured by nations whose own culinary cultures can seem a little off-colour.

”In some countries they eat dogs, like Korea. In Australia they eat kangaroos. We don't eat those animals, but we don't stop them from doing that because we understand that's their culture,“ Hayashi said in fluent English.

”Whaling has long been part of traditional Japanese culture, so I just would like to say 'please understand this is our culture'.”

Australia and New Zealand in particular, voice outrage over Japan's annual expeditions in the Southern Ocean, which the International Whaling Commission considers a sanctuary for the ocean giants.

The anti-whaling Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has chased the Japanese fleet off Antarctica for several years in an attempt to stop the mammals being slaughtered.

 

14 comments Feed

Note: Comments do not reflect MercoPress’ opinions. They are the personal view of our users. We wish to keep this as open and unregulated as possible. However, rude or foul language, discriminative comments (based on ethnicity, religion, gender, nationality, sexual orientation or the sort), spamming or any other offensive or inappropriate behaviour will not be tolerated. Please report any inadequate posts to the editor. Comments must be in English. Comments should refer to article. Thank you.

1 Anglotino (#) Feb 27th, 2013 - 06:04 am Report abuse
Dear Minister Hayashi

We shall never stop trying to block you from hunting whales.

Sorry but it's a cultural thing you probably don't understand. So please don't try to impose your own culture on us.

Sincerely
Australia
2 Idlehands (#) Feb 27th, 2013 - 07:26 am Report abuse
Time for a good rant.....
Kangaroos and dogs are not endangered species - whales are. The problem with the oceans is that unlike farming you can't accurately go out and count the fish or whales in the sea which has lead to them both being treated as if they are an inexhaustible supply. Whaling died out in the rest of the world mainly because there were so few left they were not economic to hunt - and they were used for their oil rather than food and cheaper substitutes for oil were developed too.

There's also the issue of geography. You can farm what you like on your own land but whales are migratory across the entire ocean and Japan travels to the other side of the world to hunt them (rather than sticking to their own economic waters) and therefore damages other countries eco-systems while they do it.

There's also the ethical issue of the kill. Whales are mammals not fish and their size and environment (ie the sea) makes it impossible for the kill to meet any of the standards of slaughter attributed to other mammals in the food chain. It takes hours from beginning the hunt of an individual whale to its final death and the method is as brutal as it was during the peek of the industry in the 19th century.

The Sea Shepherd organisation opposes whaling on extreme ethical grounds - all their vessels are vegan. While I don't agree with that particular motive (I have no problem with animal farming) I do support their cause simply because the goals of their action coincide with my views - just for slightly different reasons.

Whale meat consumption has declined dramatically in Japan to the extent that they are now feeding it to school children in an effort to continue it as a culinary custom. Apparently whale meat tastes pretty rank - so is an acquired taste and its consumption would probably have died out naturally in the modern world simply because people prefer and can afford nicer foods to eat. All it seems to be about now is not losing face
3 Ayayay (#) Feb 27th, 2013 - 08:10 am Report abuse
All good points @Idlehands
4 Anglotino (#) Feb 27th, 2013 - 09:05 am Report abuse
Idlehands!

Great comment.

There are so many cultural habits that die a natural death in societies. Why Japan persists with this one is quite farcical when you consider the changes to their society over the past 100 years.
5 Room101 (#) Feb 27th, 2013 - 11:37 am Report abuse
Glib dismissal of the planet's resources...
“Man's body moves
from that first washing to the last-
the interim
mere gibberish.”
Issa(1762-1826) He knew that some people never learn.
6 Conqueror (#) Feb 27th, 2013 - 11:57 am Report abuse
@2 Obviously a subject on which you feel passionate. However, whilst I am prepared to be guided, I can only find three species of whale on the IUCN Red List. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IUCN_Red_List_of_Threatened_Species I am well aware that it is an emotive issue and that the actual process of killing a whale is very bloody. However, as a comparison, could I point to commercial fishing. Having netted hundreds, or even thousands, of fish, they are then hauled into the air and simply left to expire! On the subject of kangaroos, they are marsupials of the family Macropodidae. It appears that, prior to European settlement of Australia, there were 53 species of Macropods. six species have since become extinct. A further eleven species have been greatly reduced in numbers.

I note that Japanese whaling dates back to the 12th century, so there is certainly some basis for Minister Hayashi's statement that whaling is part of Japanese culture.

Purely as a suggestion, might passion be tempered with research and objectivity?

Incidentally, you will recall the novel “Moby Dick”. Two actual events served as the genesis for Melville's tale. One was the sinking of the Nantucket ship Essex in 1820, after it was rammed by a large sperm whale 2,000 miles (3,200 km) from the western coast of South America. The other event was the alleged killing in the late 1830s of the albino sperm whale Mocha Dick, in the waters off the Chilean island of Mocha. Mocha Dick was rumored to have twenty or so harpoons in his back from other whalers, and appeared to attack ships with premeditated ferocity. Seems that whalers haven't had it all their own way!
7 Toshio (#) Feb 27th, 2013 - 12:08 pm Report abuse
His testimony broke its “research whaling” principle.
This is serious testimony.

His opinion is incoherent. This is just an insanity .
He is excited, forgetting completely the “research whaling” which is announced to the world.

The world is criticizing the Japanese government which is continuing whaling using loophole of “research whaling.”
It has collapsed logically.

He himself knows collapse of this logic. The opinion of the Japanese government is realized on the lie. Although he substitutes a point of argument for “gastronomic culture” secretly skillfully, it has that it is only humorous.

The government is furthering a plan to use whale meat compulsorily by a school lunch.

The Japanese government is a trial which tries to lose a whale meat ingestion generation. They are going to make all the Japanese the complicity of this slaughter.

Whaling of Japan of the Antarctic Ocean exists only in the act which “kills whales ”.

It is the industry of only“ killing whales”.

1) A fishery prefecture has a 5000-ton stockpile.
2) It was reported by IFAW that Japanese people hardly consume whale meat.

The act which kills this whale gives a *2 billion yen economic effect to a fleet-of-whalers port of call.

A meaning will not be made, if this whaling is “research whaling” for the Fisheries Agency and it will be “commercial whaling.”

Although the whale meat which is a by-product of the “research whaling” which they say will sell, it will not sell, but this does not have a meaning, either.

The Japanese government has continued claiming “Food culture” and “tradition” as an overseas-oriented announcement.

The act of this “whale murder” is just the truth that they want to continue. However, this cannot be announced to the world honestly.

The government of one country is making industry continue only the murder act of other races. (** A tax is used and revival money is appropriated for the budget. )

The Yamaguchi prefecture is the greatest whaling promotion prefecture. In order for Prime Minister expression Abe from Yamaguchi Prefecture to affirm this slaughter industry, the maximum tries hard. The Abe whaling Cabinet was supported by the powerful whaling lobby group, and was inaugurated.

Please note that the diplomacy of the future Japanese government is made for the purpose of whaling industrial continuation.

If it does not yield to the pressure from the world but whaling of the Japanese government continues to industrial continuation of only this slaughter, I will suspect “the Japanese government is a stockpile of the whale meat for the third World War.”

This war preparation must be a threat to the world.

The Western countries which have not yielded to ODA money of Japan should examine to Japan.

*“charges for custody of a cold storage warehouse. Stay of the family of crew, such as an agency about the delivery charge to every place, and entry into port, the persons concerned, etc. etc. -- economic effect of presumption of about 2 billion yen.

Shimonoseki is aimed at as a lasting base of a whaling survey ship team.”

By Shimonoseki-shi, Mayor Tomoaki Nakao (Yamaguchi Prefecture ).

**It is an about 2,300 million yen subsidy as “revival of an area-devastated-by-an-earthquake region” to a research whaling enterprise.

Tradition ? food culture? Infanticide of a whale?

The Japanese government and the whaling industry cannot perform logical explanation justly to the world about this slaughter. Because, “there is whaling first”. All reasons were attached later.

This act of the Japanese government for the purpose of slaughter should be judged by the world.

“Abe whaling Cabinet.“

1, ”Shinzo Abe ” (new prime minister ), comes from Yamaguchi- prefecture and Yamaguchi-prefecture is a huge whaling promotion prefecture.

( Shimonoseki is the city of the Yamaguchi prefecture. )

2, “Yoshimasa Hayashi ” (as new minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries-the position responsible for whaling policy).He also comes Yamaguchi -Prefecture. 3, “Taro Aso ” ( vice Prime Minister minister) is also powerful “pro-whaling lobby”

4, “Shigeru Ishiba

( Liberal Democratic Party whaling Diet members' league)

Now It is becoming famous that “Shinzo Abe ” is the greatest whaling promoter.
His wife advertizes a whale meat hamburger and enjoys a dolphin show.

Abe ,himself commented to the press that the Yamaguchi prefecture is the prime minister's place of production. I think that this means taking the prime minister's post by support of powerful whaling Lobby group. That is, Abe who became the prime minister has the consciousness that whose whaling industry is protected it is a mission.

1) “The Japanese whalers are far more aggressive this year than in past campaigns.”
2) Introduction of the tax fund and the tsunami relief funds to whaling industry


Present Cabinet began to move to “the mission of whaling industrial relief” certainly.

I say once again.

Slaughter of a whale which this Japan is performing is the most meaningless in the long history of the human being who kills other races.

This act of the Japanese government for the purpose of slaughter should be judged by the world.

Did major media of Japan tell the Japanese in IFAW`s precious information and the overseas report of a whaling issue?
It is this very manipulation of information to make thinking of a whaling issue stopped in japan

Why are Japanese people ignorance at a whaling issue?

“ Japan's Institute for Cetacean Research “ (ICR), uses every year on publicity work in 600 million yen.

There are very many differences of the whaling issue information in overseas and Japan by the manipulation of information of major media.

“The Japanese need to get to know nothing. Pay a tax silently. Whaling is nationalized.”
This is the expectation of the Japanese government.


The world should not accept industrial continuation of that the government of one state only murders other races on this earth.

And the Japanese government and a fishery prefecture are going to nationalize this slaughter.

Australia and New Zealand are justice and hope.
8 Anglotino (#) Feb 27th, 2013 - 01:00 pm Report abuse
@6 Conqueror

It is interesting that you bring up the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

While you're correct in your facts about the 53 species of Macropodidae, you missed out the fact that only 4 of that species are considered Kangaroos and all 4 are considered Least Concern (LC) by the IUCN – meaning they are lowest risk and do not qualify for a higher risk category. Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category.

Indeed Kangaroos are considered superior to other sources of red meat due to the abscence of cholesterol and high protein. Also Kangaroos produce almost no methane and if Australia were to replace all forms of cattle with Kangaroo as a meat source we could cut our greenhouse gas emissions by 11%.

Aboriginal culture is the world's oldest continuing culture stretching back more than 40,000 - sorta makes Japanese whaling since the 12th century seem almost a recent by comparison.

Anyway the simple fact is that Japan doesn't need to whale as a cultural expression, but it is now just a very large and powerful lobby group. After this, saving face is probably one of the greatest reasons why the Japanese government won't change.
9 Idlehands (#) Feb 27th, 2013 - 01:02 pm Report abuse
7 Toshio

That was another point I wanted to make but ran out of allowable letters.

The Japanese claim it is research and go around bribing tiny member states to vote in their favour on the IWC. They basically treat the rest of the world like we're complete idiots as everyone knows they hunt to sell the meat.

Conqueror may have a point that there are few whales on the endangered list any more but that is only due to the worldwide moratorium on hunting them. There's also the issue that although there are few “endangered” their populations are massively below the natural level from hundreds of years ago.

The oceans should be bountiful and teaming with fish and whales - but they're not. I read somewhere recently that statistically it took less man hours to catch a specific quantity of fish in the age of sail than it does in the 21st century with enormous powered vessels armed with sonar and massive nets no sail boat could ever have towed.

The oceans need to be left alone to recover and then a system put in place to ensure future fishing does not deplete the oceans beyond that sustainable level.

Of course competing nations want others to make that sacrifice and the fishing industry always demands that their livelihoods be protected - but between them they have decimated the oceans. In fact decimated is the wrong word - that's only 10% and the results of worldwide fishing have destroyed stocks exponentially past that level.

I'm not really an environmentalist so am not a hippy beating a drum - it's just the state of the oceans has gone below all common sense.

Here's a good example - the record fish caught from a boat with a rod and line in UK waters is 831lbs - that was an Atlantic Bluefin tuna. That record has stood since 1933. You simply wouldn't see them here any more. If you look down the list the record for most species is decades old. The damage is obvious.
10 JustinKuntz (#) Feb 27th, 2013 - 01:09 pm Report abuse
Sorry but that is usual crap justifying the unjustifiable.

The kind of whaling carried out in the Antarctic is not a cultural tradition, Japan didn't start whaling in the Southern Hemisphere till the 1930s. The kind of whaling Japan now conducts is actually condemned by Japanese fishermen as non-traditional and promoting the indiscriminate killing of whales.

The only reason for whaling in the South Atlantic is that whaling is completely banned in US territorial waters and the stocks in Japanese waters were effectively exhausted.

If the Japanese want to celebrate their cultural tradition, they can go back to whaling from row boats with spotters on the shore. The mechanised slaughter of the great whales in an unsustainable manner is actually counter to Japanese tradition, which viewed whales as a deity of the sea.
11 scottbart (#) Feb 27th, 2013 - 01:29 pm Report abuse
what a complete fool, they wont part of his culture when they are all killed off! cultures need to adapt and change and see common sense and not keep looking back to when grandad ate whales
12 Conqueror (#) Feb 27th, 2013 - 04:54 pm Report abuse
@8 Thank you for supporting my suggestion that Idlehands is being emotive. You don't deny it. You don't offer an alternative viewpoint.

You seem to have missed the point that six species of Macropodidae have already been made EXTINCT.

Perhaps you should consider comparing the Japanese whaling in respect to European cattle “ranching”. Perhaps you could elucidate the availability of beef, lamb and pork animals on the Japanese islands compared to the population?

I refer you to @9. Idlehands has admitted that I have a point. I don't know where you're from, but let's suppose that I make an attack on part of your “culture” or what you conceive to be part of your “culture”. How do you respond? Do you immediately agree that your “culture” is wrong and I am right?

How do you feel about those “societies” that were “cannibalistic”? Doesn't cannibalism still exist? When the “need” arises?

One has to live in the real world. Japan doesn't believe that a total whaling ban is necessary. That “necessity” has to be proved. If it can't be proved then it shouldn't be imposed. Are we not supposed to be democratic? If a total ban can be questioned, is it democratic?

It may take decades to persuade Japan that whaling is unnecessary. Given that there are only three species of endangered whales, where is the justification for condemnation of Japan? Can it be demonstrated that Japan already has enough meat from beef, lamb, pork animals?

Realism -v- emotion.
13 nerosaxo (#) Feb 27th, 2013 - 06:19 pm Report abuse
From the country that gave us BUSHIDO and KAMIKAZE.
14 Idlehands (#) Feb 27th, 2013 - 09:21 pm Report abuse
Why did the specific Macropodidae become extinct and when? I'm not justifying that event but was it in the modern era? It's probably the same as the inexcusable fate of the passenger pigeon.

Consequential extinction such as loss of habitat is more difficult to combat but now the world is wealthy and educated enough we shouldn't be driving anything to extinction - certainly not in the direct manner of shooting them and eating them.

Commenting for this story is now closed.
If you have a Facebook account, become a fan and comment on our Facebook Page!

Advertisement

Get Email News Reports!

Get our news right on your inbox.
Subscribe Now!