The Japanese government has desperately defended whaling for years, but the question has increasingly become: for what? Supporting whaling culture is one thing, but maintaining whaling at this scale makes no sense.

Yusuke Saskata, a professor of environmental economics at Kinki University in Osaka. (New York Times)

  • 1

    gokai_wo_maneku

    Consumption of whale fell more than 90% since the 60s. I haven't seen it in the supermarket since the 80, when I was in junior high, and young people raised on McDonnalds don't like it much. But then come the anti-whaling groups, and suddenly whale is in the news. People say, whale, what's that and give it a try. Now whale consumption is rising. Whaling companies love it! Thank you Seasheperd! Without you, whale consumption would be zero now.

  • 1

    Lowly

    I see it in the supermarket all the time, gokai,

    I guess it just depends which supermarket. But yes, it is clear it is not consumed so much. (Tho I don't think McD's culture has anything to do with it-- the taste isn't very strong, so anyone who likes beef and pork and other mammals like deer wouldn't have a problem with it, from what I've tasted of it.) I hadn't known sea shephard was the reason for a resurgence, tho.

    As to why the gov supports it at this level-- it's a flag. It doesn't matter that no-one feels close to whaling. The gov can use it as a flag to wave and gather citizens close and get them emotional.

    Also inertia. Once they have this money earmarked for it, they have to use it, and they have all these ppl working ont it, on the boats but others as well. That's how gov contracting works. You earmark and you use it. Like all those roads and bridges to nowhere in Inaka cuz they had to use construction money.

  • 0

    japan_cynic

    I see some (few) tins locally, but never fresh. Stupid waste of govt money, but it's not my govt, and in fact it's not really very much money.

  • 0

    cabadaje

    I agree that at this scale, whaling is nonsensical. In order for whaling to be profitable and self-sustaining, it needs to happen at commercial levels, not at the low, "sampling" levels it is currently occurring at. With the economy of scale comes increased marketing and consumption, leading to more jobs, greater profits, and less wear and tear on the environment.

    However, the IWC has shown itself to be increasingly unwilling to follow its original mandate, that being to determine at what scale commercial whaling could be sustained. It seems to have the slow strangulation of the industry in mind instead. In all honesty, Japan was coerced into joining the IWC, and it is likely that the promise of future whaling is going to be broken as well.

    At this point, if Japan does wish to capitalize on commercial whaling, it should withdraw the IWC based on No Confidence. It should then join forces with the North seas whaling committees, that are actually working towards sustainable whaling.

    If, on the other hand, Japan does not wish to go into this market, It should withdraw altogether, as the IWC, at this point, is really doing nothing but wasting everyone's time and money.

  • 0

    Nessie

    An unusually rational and nuanced comment on the topic.

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