Japan will never stop whaling, minister says

Feb 26, 2013 by Harumi Ozawa
Japan's fisheries minister Yoshimasa Hayashi gustures as he answers questions during an interview at his office in Tokyo on February 26, 2013. The minister said Tuesday his country will never stop hunting whales, despite fierce criticism from other nations and violent clashes at sea with militant conservationists.

Japan's fisheries minister said Tuesday his country will never stop hunting whales, despite fierce criticism from other nations and violent clashes at sea with militant conservationists.

"I don't think there will be any kind of an end for whaling by Japan," Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi told AFP in an exclusive interview.

Hayashi, who took the ministerial post overseeing the country's whaling programmes in December, said the criticism of the practice is "a cultural attack, a kind of prejudice against Japanese culture".

There is "a long historical tradition about whaling", he told AFP in his large central Tokyo office, over which portraits of Japan's revered Emperor and Empress gazed down.

"Japan is an island nation surrounded by the sea, so taking some good protein from the ocean is very important. For I think it's very important.

"We have never said everybody should eat whale, but we have a long tradition and culture of whaling.

"So why don't we at least agree to disagree? We have this culture and you don't have that culture," said the 52-year-old, who views the whaling port of Shimonoseki in Japan's southwest as home.

Unlike Norway and Iceland, which openly flout the 1986 on agreed through the International Commission on Whaling, Japan hunts using a loophole that allows for lethal scientific research.

A handout photo taken on February 25, 2013 shows the Sea Shepherd ship Bob Barker (R) colliding with the Japanese whaling fleet fuel tanker in icy waters off Antarctica. The anti-whaling Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has chased the Japanese fleet off Antarctica for several years in an attempt to stop the mammals being slaughtered.

But it makes no secret of the fact that the mammals ultimately end up on menus.

Hayashi, a graduate of the prestigious Kennedy School at Harvard University who first entered parliament in 1995, said Japan was tired of being lectured by nations whose own culinary cultures can seem a little off-colour.

"In some countries they eat dogs, like Korea. In Australia they eat kangaroos. We don't eat those animals, but we don't stop them from doing that because we understand that's their culture," Hayashi said in fluent English.

"Whaling has long been part of traditional Japanese culture, so I just would like to say 'please understand this is our culture'."

Australia and New Zealand in particular, voice outrage over Japan's annual expeditions in the Southern Ocean, which the International Whaling Commission considers a sanctuary for the ocean giants.

The anti-whaling Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has chased the Japanese fleet off Antarctica for several years in an attempt to stop the mammals being slaughtered.

In the latest clash, on Monday, veteran anti-whaling campaigner Paul Watson said the Japanese factory ship, the Nisshin Maru, rammed the Sea Shepherd's much smaller vessel, the Bob Barker.

But on its website, Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research said several Sea Shepherd boats had slammed into the Nisshin Maru as the vessel attempted to refuel from her supply tanker.

"It was five hours of intense confrontation," Watson told AFP from on board the Sea Shepherd vessel the Steve Irwin.

"We took up our positions to block their approach to the (fuel tanker) Sun Laurel and they rammed the Bob Barker twice, causing considerable damage, and then they pushed it into the side of the Sun Laurel."

Watson said the Japanese threw stun grenades and fired a water cannon at his boat and damaged another Sea Shepherd vessel, the Sam Simon, but there were no injuries to Sea Shepherd crew.

The Institute of Cetacean Research said the Japanese vessels were "again subject to sabotage by the Sea Shepherd ships Steve Irwin, Bob Barker and Sam Simon".

"During their obstruction to refuelling operations the Sea Shepherd vessels rammed into... the Nisshin Maru and the supply tanker," it said.

"During the attack, the Nisshin Maru used her water pump as a preventive measure to make vessels refrain from further approaching, and repeatedly broadcasted a warning message to stop them."

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User comments : 36

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bottomlesssoul
4.2 / 5 (17) Feb 26, 2013
Never say never. He should have said they'll stop whaling when the last whale dies.
stndspec
2.7 / 5 (15) Feb 26, 2013
This isn't cultural you self-centered, paranoid, nationalist fool. It's about whether or not we as a race (all humans) should sanction killing creatures that are as self-aware as we are. Dogs are not self-aware, neither are kangaroos. Whales are. I'm not a fan of killing at all, but if we can all agree globally that killing people is wrong, and we decided this because we are smarter than our fellow creatures and so our lives must be more valuable in some way than theirs, then the same standard should be applied to all life. There are so few other truly self-aware mammals on the planet (elephants, dolphins, whales, apes, chimps, orangutangs) - these would be a good place to start with the 'not ethical to kill' line.

Beyond that (should be obvious) reason, it's pretty messed up to hunt endangered species. I mean, when all the scientists studying the situation say you're about to decimate whats left of an entire species, no future generations will whale anyway.. most people would STOP.
Milou
4.2 / 5 (15) Feb 26, 2013
Strange how culture goes beyond reason. In World War II Japan's culture was to never give up. It cost all of us, especially them dearly!!! Perhaps, "culture" and "never" is the wrong choice of words???
praos
3 / 5 (10) Feb 26, 2013
Eat green idiots instead. They are also protein rich.
axemaster
3.4 / 5 (11) Feb 26, 2013
It's about whether or not we as a race (all humans) should sanction killing creatures that are as self-aware as we are. Dogs are not self-aware, neither are kangaroos. Whales are.

Just out of curiosity, what makes you think whales are more intelligent than dogs?

I find myself agreeing with Yoshimasa Hayashi that it's really a cultural divide. I mean, the whole thing strikes me as pretty silly. We happily cram animals into tiny stalls and grow them into meat. You'd think that if people really cared about this stuff they'd start off by tackling the problems closer to home.
SincerelyTwo
4.2 / 5 (9) Feb 26, 2013
I find myself agreeing with Yoshimasa Hayashi that it's really a cultural divide. I mean, the whole thing strikes me as pretty silly. We happily cram animals into tiny stalls and grow them into meat. You'd think that if people really cared about this stuff they'd start off by tackling the problems closer to home.


I partially agree with you, the reason is that at least we have developed a means to continue breeding and keep the animals we farm in existence. Whales however will easily go extinct, especially if no care is taken to allow them to reproduce into plentiful numbers.

If they are not replenishing the resources they consume then they will inevitably run out of those resources.
Isaacsname
5 / 5 (3) Feb 26, 2013
The human species will end like Shel Silverstein's poem: " Hungry Mungry ".

trapezoid
4.2 / 5 (5) Feb 26, 2013
In some countries they eat dogs, like Korea. In Australia they eat kangaroos

Those are raised in captivity for that.
bcode
3.5 / 5 (8) Feb 26, 2013
Since I can't post what I want to post here... I'll simply state that this comment would have been moderated if I spoke my mind about this culturally retarded imbecile.
kochevnik
2.3 / 5 (6) Feb 27, 2013
@praos Eat green idiots instead. They are also protein rich.
By 'idiots' you mean people who know arithmetic, unlike you?
Parsec
4.3 / 5 (6) Feb 27, 2013
I guess Japan has decided to abandon the fiction that they only hunt whales for "research" purposes.

I suspect that the ongoing battle between the illegal Japanese whaling fleet (only hunting for research is allowed) and concerned citizens and countries will continue to escalate the war until whale meat becomes so expensive that it will simply become unattainable for all but a very very few. Meanwhile lives and ships will be lost to this madness.
KalinForScience
4 / 5 (4) Feb 27, 2013
Such arrogance... from a country which experienced two nuclear weapon blasts, tsunami/earthquake impacts, nuclear plant catastrophe nightmare, etc... It seems that they are raging for revenge, and since they are too anxious and clever not to attack directly former enemies, they turn their anger to the poor whales, in some sort of "cultural war against the West". I do not intend to assault the whole Japanese nation, every nation has its shortcomings, but this behavior of theirs should be ended.
Shakescene21
4.3 / 5 (11) Feb 27, 2013
This isn't about "culture", this is about preserving endangered species. If the rest of us hadn't quit whaling there wouldn't be any whales left for Japanese whalers.

I would be in favor of a punitive tariff on Japanese imports to the US, say 15% ad valorum. That might change their cultural love for whale meat. If not, it would at least help the US budget deficit and maybe create some American manufacturing jobs.
Sinister1811
3.3 / 5 (12) Feb 27, 2013
In some countries they eat dogs, like Korea. In Australia they eat kangaroos

Those are raised in captivity for that.


True. They are farmed for that purpose. And neither animal is even close to being threatened with extinction, as dogs are popular pets and kangaroos are common, widespread animals (and are actually considered pests in some areas). He's comparing apples and oranges. A lot of whales and dolphins are endangered, and they have a low reproductive rate. This is comparable to rhino and elephant poaching in Africa, or poaching of tigers and orangutans in south east Asia.
Wolf358
2 / 5 (4) Feb 27, 2013
Has anyone done any research on the connection between eating whalemeat and sexual dysfunction in Japanese men? Someone should...
Wolf358
1.7 / 5 (3) Feb 27, 2013
Actually, if Japan would limit itself to actual traditional methods to hunt, instead of using modern technology to slaughter, I'd have less issue with their LIES.

http://upload.wik...apan.jpg
daggoth
4.2 / 5 (5) Feb 27, 2013
Has anyone done any research on the connection between eating whale meat and sexual dysfunction in Japanese men? Someone should...


That's much more likely to do with the fact that the Japanese eat extremely high amounts of salt and high blood pressure is rampant because of it.

This is in no way a cultural war and I have no idea where this guy deludes himself with that idea. I could care less about what the Japanese use to do or have always done, they're currently driving many whale species into endangered status. Culture or not, it's wrong and must be stopped immediately.
axemaster
1 / 5 (5) Feb 27, 2013
Whales however will easily go extinct, especially if no care is taken to allow them to reproduce into plentiful numbers.

Not to sound callous, but does that really matter? They're already under a lot of pressure from climate change anyway. And in any case, we have enough tissue samples to bring them back in the future if they go extinct. Right now, humanity has issues of far greater importance to address.
ValeriaT
3.3 / 5 (7) Feb 27, 2013
At least these idiots admitted, their whaling has nothing to do with scientific research, but with national pride. They told us too, they will never stop will whaling, until the last animal will remain. So they just deserve another nuke - it's the only way, how these barbarians will learn to value the terrestrial life.
ValeriaT
3.8 / 5 (5) Feb 27, 2013
BTW There is a long tradition in nuking Japanese...;-)
so taking some good protein from the ocean is very important. For food security I think it's very important
..mendacious Japanese in addition. The volume of whale meat in comparison to meat coming from fishing - the Japanese would survive not a single day just from whale meat. Best of all, as whale meat is in general heavily contaminated by mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls, it constitutes a health risk. Thus children and pregnant women are advised to refrain from eating whale meat. It's not tasty, it's not even healthy. Not surprisingly, more than 75% of whale meat gets unsold.
ValeriaT
3.7 / 5 (6) Feb 27, 2013
The Japanese industry managed to ship just 5,000 tons of whale meat in 2011. Demand this year is so low that the industry has cut its planned shipments by half, to 2,400 tons. How long the Japanese would survive from 2400 tons of meat? Japanese fish catch represents about 8 million tons of meat per year.
danielojost
5 / 5 (4) Feb 27, 2013
Oh yes Japan WILL stop whaling, and sooner than you think, my dear Honorable Minister Hayashi...

1) First of all, fierce criticism has already started to form WITHIN Japan. Can it be that in your function as Minister you have not yet heard of the recent protests organized by groups such as Action for Marine Mammals? Or are you just (rather unskillfully) ignoring this aspect?

2) Now to the "long historical tradition about whaling": regarding small scale coastal whaling, certainly. Wasting tons of fuel and taxpayers' money to go all the way to the Southern Ocean to whale however only started rather recently, in the 80s. So not too much history and tradition there...

3) "Japan is an island nation surrounded by the sea, so taking some good protein from the ocean is very important. For food security I think it's very important."

A typical argument of the baby-boomer generation. Piling up tons of whale meat in freezers because nobody wants it is CRIMINAL in today's overpopulated world!

danielojost
4.2 / 5 (6) Feb 27, 2013
4) "In some countries they eat dogs, like Korea. In Australia they eat kangaroos. We don't eat those animals, but we don't stop them from doing that because we understand that's their culture."

You're comparing farmed animals that are slaughtered in a controlled environment, to wild animals slaughtered in the wild Mr. Hayashi - not the same thing.

5) "Whaling has long been part of traditional Japanese culture, so I just would like to say 'please understand this is our culture'."

No, we shall not understand it, because it is not your culture. And let me know if you need some help on Japanese culture. (Perhaps you spent too much time at Harvard and have forgotten...)

Kind regards from Switzerland,
Daniel Jost.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
5 / 5 (3) Feb 28, 2013
Other social practices never believed to stop were slavery and poaching for elephant tusks, both of which are now illegal if not stopped.

@axemaster:

""It's about whether or not we as a race (all humans) should sanction killing creatures that are as self-aware as we are. Dogs are not self-aware, neither are kangaroos. Whales are."

Just out of curiosity, what makes you think whales are more intelligent than dogs?"

I don't think we can tell if self awareness speaks to intelligence, but it speaks to physiological and cultural* similarities. It is readily observed by the mirror test.

"Animals that have been observed to pass the mirror test include:
All great apes ...
Bottlenose dolphins
Orcas
Elephants
European Magpies"
[ http://en.wikiped...ror_test ]

* Some animals, including the self aware, have culture. It is bigotry by the Japanese to base their claim on culture when we can be certain that these animal's cultures do not include being preyed on by others.
VendicarE
5 / 5 (5) Feb 28, 2013
Given that Japan has claimed that it will never stop whaling, we can rest assured that Japan will soon stop whaling.

The world will be a better place for it.
aroc91
5 / 5 (4) Feb 28, 2013
Not to sound callous, but does that really matter? They're already under a lot of pressure from climate change anyway. And in any case, we have enough tissue samples to bring them back in the future if they go extinct. Right now, humanity has issues of far greater importance to address.


"Fuck it, we'll deal with it later" is the same train of thought that got us into this mess. Moron.
ryggesogn2
1.6 / 5 (7) Feb 28, 2013
Will the enviro-nuts now boycott the Prius and stop eating sushi?
ValeriaT
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 02, 2013
Why won't Australia stop the whalers? The Japanese hunting of whales in Australian Antarctic waters is against Australian law. Yet the Australian government is strangely reluctant to enforce its own laws.
antialias_physorg
3.5 / 5 (4) Mar 02, 2013
Japan will never stop whaling, minister says

Of course they'll stop - when they've killed the last whale they'll have no alternative.

But seriously: this is a NATIONALIST minister. Put 2 and 2 together here, guys, why he's saying this.

He's just pandering to his voters because they hate anything that smacks of outside interference. The content of the message is irrelevant. He'd advocate to stop breathing air in a heartbeat if other nations would call on Japan to breathe air.
FMA
5 / 5 (2) Mar 02, 2013
Younger generation Japanese no longer like to eat whale meat, they whale because other people against it and not for their national consumption.
FMA
3 / 5 (3) Mar 02, 2013
Don't forget you guys dumped a lot of highly radioactive materials to the sea, whales may accidentally contact them and you guys will eat them all.
BSD
3.7 / 5 (6) Mar 02, 2013
But seriously: this is a NATIONALIST minister.

It's right wing dogma like this which got Japan into trouble in WW2. I hope Japan doesn't want international diplomatic help in resolving the Sendaku Islands dispute with China. They may get a rather loud NO.
The other Japanese cultural tradition is one of "saving face", they can't be seen to be on the wrong end of an argument and subsequently losing that argument out of embarrassment and loss of dignity or "face". Seppuku is a form of face saving. No Japanese Fisheries Minister is going to lose face over this.
The Japanese hunting of whales in Australian Antarctic waters is against Australian law. Yet the Australian government is strangely reluctant to enforce its own laws.

Don't worry, we've been demanding an answer from our government for years and still no answer. You can guess why, it's trade. That's all that matters.
VendicarE
5 / 5 (2) Mar 02, 2013
Since neither are made by whaling ocmpanies I fail to see the reason why they would.

In fact given it's nature, sushi sold in America is made in America.

"Will the enviro-nuts now boycott the Prius and stop eating sushi?" - RyggTard

Poor RyggTard. He lives his life in perpetual confusion.

It's like watching a drunk man try to make it through a maze.
alfie_null
1 / 5 (1) Mar 04, 2013
Whew - lots of inflammatory rhetoric. Isn't it fun to point your finger at someone else and tell them how faulty they are?
Escalating the issue of this hunting won't resolve it. Rather, ignore the activity. It will dwindle to insignificance. Look at the demographics.
antialias_physorg
2 / 5 (2) Mar 04, 2013
It's right wing dogma like this which got Japan into trouble in WW2.

Japan has always been very nationalistic. It's really a problem, but honestly I can understand where it comes from. They've been shafted by every nation in the region and some western ones at one time or another in their history (and have retaliated with equal ferocity/inhumanity).
They're a tiny island with next to no resources or arable land. And currently they're living right next to nations that are flexing their military muscles.
(When you think about it they're much in the same position as Israel is)

Constant threat (or even just imaginary threat) tends to create ultra-nationalism. Just look at the US.

soyham
1 / 5 (1) Apr 05, 2013
Thank to tsunami! I love you

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