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January 8, 2009
Japanese whaling sparks cultural, environmental debate

A Japanese sign details parts of the whale.

On Thursday, Australia refused a Japanese request to prevent anti-whaling activists from docking on its shores and refuelling.

The activists aboard the “Steve Irwin,” part of a conservation group called the Sea Shepherd Society, were accused of interfering with a Japanese whaling ship’s efforts to locate a crewmember lost at sea. They had chased the Japanese fleet for 2,000 miles.

Japan carries out a five-month research hunt in Antarctica each year, often drawing protest from environmental groups. The country plans to harvest as many as 935 minke whales and 50 fin whales in the coming year.

Commercial whaling was banned in 1986, but Japan may legally kill whales as part of research missions — though critics say that research is a “front” and the meat is sold commercially, since whale meat is a traditional food in Japan. 

Greenpeace officer “Dave” blogged from a ship off the Japanese coast about efforts to spare humpback whales in the region last year. 

Blogger “Lolas” writes from Tokyo that the results of the whaling “research” are for sale in the local supermarket, while blogger “Luke” posts images of whale meat for sale and writes about Japanese complacency regarding the whaling issue. 

The “Consumist” blog writes that Japanese public opinion is turning against whaling, but that environmental organizations like Greenpeace are completely ineffective. 

Blogger “Jennifer” writes about eating whale while visiting Tokyo, arguing that Japanese whaling is carried out ethically. 

David Fogarty of Reuters blogs about the centuries-old whaling culture in Japan, writing that the Japanese are annoyed by Western coverage of whaling. 

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Elijah under a Creative Commons license.

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Comments

4 comments

#4

C’mon, they’ve done it before……60 years ago!!!! and you expect us to believe their lies…They can fool some of the people some of the time!!!!!!!!

#3

I have read that the Japanese government send the Whale meat to public schools for children to eat for lunch. They try to sell the whale meat in stores but most won’t buy it. This is Japanese government attempt to keep the public eating traditional dishes. The reality is the public would rather import beef from the US. But thats a another story altogether.

#2

Hi, this is Dave from the Greenpeace ship – that blog was from November 2007!

#1

Maybe someone should tell the japanses that the west is annoyed by Japanese whaling eh? XD So the feeling is mutual.

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