Japanese whale poachers inspect a slaughtered minke whale at the port of Ayukawa in 2014. Photo: Reuters / Kyodo

By Rachel Mealey
7 July 2017

TOKYO (ABC News) – Japan has passed a law enshrining the practice of whaling and is considering upgrading its fleet of vessels in a step toward returning to the controversial commercial practice.

The new whaling bill sets out Japan's plan to one day resume commercial whaling, with one MP describing the controversial practice as "a great source of food".

Kyoshi Ejima, a member of the Upper House who voted in favour of the legislation, said Japan could become a self-sustaining food nation if commercial whaling was allowed to resume.

"This resource exists out in the world, there are minke whales down in the Antarctic Ocean that are of body weight of around 5,000 to 10,000 kilograms," Mr Ejima said. […]

Dolphin and Whale Network secretary-general Nanami Kurasawa said the argument there is demand for whale meat in Japan is false and there is no justification for killing whales for research.

"It's clear that this industry cannot stand on its own two feet without government subsidy," she said. [more]

Japan passes whaling bill with view to resume commercial whaling


6 July 2017 (WDC) – In an unusual press event today, Japanese government officials faced criticism from within the country over plans to resume commercial whaling, which is currently banned by the International Whaling Commission (the body that regulates the hunts).

The panel discussion took place between Kiyoshi Ejima representing Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party, Shigeki Takaya, director of Whaling Affairs Office at the Japanese Fisheries Agency and Nanami Kurasawa, secretary general of the Dolphin and Whale Network who has been campaigning against whaling since 1987.

The debate quickly moved on to some uncomfortable areas for those representing the whaling industry in Japan, with questions from journalists present focusing on the dubious need for the new law and the huge sums of public money spent on hunting.

The pro-whalers were probed on how much money will be spent on the new whaling programme when there are other important issues like welfare for ageing society in Japan that need funding, why hunting continues when there is no substantial market for the meat, and one Japanese journalist questioned the flimsy explanations given for the hunts by the government and asked what the plans were that justify such tax money investments.

Dolphin and Whale Network’s Nanami Kurasawa criticized the government’s handling of the creation of the new hunting laws pointing out that only handful of policy makers were involved in the drafting process, that no time for responses was set aside and that there is not broad support for whaling in Japan.

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Japanese Government Faces Criticism From Its Own People Over New Whale Hunt Plans

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