Having a wail of a time…

5 Dec

Hi blog.

Bad news again as Japanese conservatives continue to get their way.

Normally I wouldn’t include an article from Japan Today, which has been bought out by the right-wing sympathetic Sankei group, but this one includes some interesting information.  Save yourself the bother of going to the link as the comments section displays the worst vitriol of the human zoo. (Comments by one “tinawatanabe” – who seems to magically appear like a rabid fairy godmother whenever Japan’s actions are criticized – are particularly jingoistic and caustic)

http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/japans-whaling-fleet-departs-for-hunt-despite-international-outrage

My comments in bold black.

Japan’s whaling fleet departs for hunt despite international outrage

SHIMONOSEKI —

Japan’s whaling fleet set out for the Antarctic on Tuesday to resume a hunt for the mammals after a year-long hiatus, prompting criticism from Australia as well as key ally, the United States.

Year-long hiatus?  Oh, yes.  The period when Japan – whose officials love to refer as “a nation of law” – actually decided not to ignore the decision of the International Court of Justice.

Japan aims to take more than 300 whales before the hunt ends next year and nearly 4,000 over the next 12 years as part of a scientific program to research the whales.

Research: “What’s the going price for minke whale meat?”

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled last year that Japan’s whaling in the Southern Ocean should stop and an International Whaling Commission (IWC) panel said in April that Japan had yet to demonstrate a need for killing whales.

Exactly.

But Tokyo retooled its plan for the 2015/16 season to cut the number of minke whales it intends to take to 333, down by two-thirds from previous hunts.

So, somehow, by killing “only” one third of your targeted goal, you think it will make it acceptable even when the ICJ’s ordered Japan to “…revoke any extant authorization, permit or licence to kill, take or treat whales in relation to JARPA II, and refrain from granting any further permits under Article VIII, paragraph 1, of the Convention, in pursuance of that programme”?

“Last year, regrettably, the ICJ made its ruling and we were unable to take whales,” said Tomoaki Nakao, the mayor of the western city of Shimonoseki that is home to the whaling fleet and part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s election district.

Wait a minute.  Abe’s election district.  Abe, revisionist, who seems to want to drag Japan back to the 1930s.  And if my memory serves me correctly, this is the very same port which received funds siphoned off from the Tohoku Earthquake disaster relief funds, purportedly because the other major whaling port had been damaged by the tsunami.

“There’s nothing as happy as this day,” he told the fleet’s crew at a ceremony prior to their departure.

Roll out that pork barrel!

Shortly before noon the ships sailed away under a clear blue sky, with family members and officials waving from the shore. The hunt is expected to last until March.

Japan, which has long maintained that most whale species are not endangered and that eating whale is part of its food culture, began what it calls “scientific whaling” in 1987, a year after an international whaling moratorium took effect.

Interest groups have always managed to play the “culture” and”tradition” cards, usually with a “race” card and the “racist” card (because being anti-whaling is actually racist, apparently) hidden up their sleeve to draw on the nationalist full house.

The meat ends up on store shelves, although most Japanese no longer eat it.

But plenty of noisy individuals will buy into the “It’s Japan’s sovereign right” argument.  Failing that, they will argue that “fish stocks are at dangerously low levels because the whales are eating them all”.

Officials, including Abe, have long said their ultimate goal is the resumption of commercial whaling – a pledge Abe repeated in a message read at the pre-departure ceremony.

Maybe the “research” is “Just how far can we flout the ICJ ruling?”  This is clearly  a pilot program to resume commercial whaling in Antarctic waters.  (And just how old is this so-called “tradition”?)

Australia and key Japanese ally the United States both opposed the hunt.

“We believe that all of Japan’s primary research objectives can be met through non-lethal activities and continue to oppose their scientific whaling programs,” said Russell F. Smith, the U.S. commissioner to the IWC.

Environmental activists also condemned the move.

“It is completely unacceptable for the Japanese government to ignore the International Court of Justice,” said Junichi Sato, executive director of Greenpeace Japan, in a statement.

This is the same Japanese government that finds China’s flouting of an ICJ decision completely unacceptable.

“This is not ‘scientific research,’ this is straight up commercial whaling.”

You are absolutely correct, Mr. Sato.

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2015.

Article ends

How some people see minke whales.

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