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Japan takes one step forward with renewed whaling program, an act seen as defiant toward the International Court of Justice and the International Whaling Commission.
After the International Court of Justice issued a decision stating the Japan’s whaling program has a commercial character, the authority deemed it illegal and demanded an immediate halt of whale hunting in Japan.
The government of the Asian nation met the demands of the International Court of Justice stated in the March 31st, 2014 decision. However, Japan has recently announced that it will restart its whaling program, now called NEWREP-A. An action which has of course drawn the opprobrium of the entire global community.
It was 1986 when the International Whaling Commission also decided that commercial whaling programs are illegal and should be banned. On the other hand, whaling programs in support of scientific research for deemed lawful and allowed to continue unabated, with just some suggested caps.
As such, many nations, including Japan based their whaling programs on the scientific research provision. Admittedly, hunting about 1,000 whales per year is a little beyond any scientific scope. What else could underpin the fact that Japan takes one step forward with renewed whaling program?
Let us take a few steps back in history, but not before mentioning that NEWREP-A would only see about 300 whales hunted yearly under the new framework. Have you ever wondered what the Japanese do with the whale meat? Hint: it’s not the top choice of the Japanese people. In fact, as per a Greenpeace and Nippon Research Center poll, 95 percent of the Japanese people have never tried whale meat or have rarely eaten it.
Granted, whale meat was among the only foods available as World War II was drawing to an end, as well as in the post-war era. At the time, Japan’s economy – like many others around the world – was hitting rock bottom. Food scarcity prompted General Douglas MacArthur to transform two military tankers to whaling ships.
And so, the whaling program venture started. Pushed by need, the Japanese people fed on whale meat for a while. Then generations transited to normalized conditions and eventually whale meat was almost entirely forgotten.
So it’s not a penchant for whale meat that drives Japan’s whaling program. It’s also not a traditional affection that prompts the stubbornness. In fact, it may be simply a proof of national integrity. While Norway continues its commercial whaling program unabated and doesn’t even call it for scientific research, Japan is under fire.
According to the activists demanding a halt to whaling in Japan, whales are endangered. Whales hunted in Japan are nowhere near endangered. Yet, working the motif of the bluefin tuna which is endangered and commercially overfished in Japan wouldn’t bear the same emotional message for the wide public.
Photo Credits: Wikimedia