So, Japan has a new government. For all of us who have been single-mindedly pursuing a complete end to whaling for decades now, there's only one question that matters: what does this mean for the country's whaling policy?
I suspect the bureaucrats responsible for whaling have gotten a little fed up of questions in the press about the cost of the programme to taxpayers (about 60 million US a year), the continuing decline in sales, the continuing increase in unsold whale meat, and the mounting foreign relations disasters the "scientific research programme" trails in its wake. The whaling industry in Japan right now is a wounded beast, and like any wounded beast it's lashing back with abandon -- as evidenced by the arrest of our activists, Junichi and Toru, for daring to expose corruption in the whaling industry.
Today a new bit of evidence of a bunkering down by the industry comes in.
The Japanese Cabinet decided on September 12 to remove Minoru Morimoto from the position of International Whaling Commission Commissioner, and to replace him with Akira Nakamae, the chief director of the Fisheries Research Agency.
Mr. Nakamae has been alternate commissioner since 2003. To get some idea of what he thinks about whaling and the debate in the Whaling Commission, he is the guy who said at the 2005 meeting in Ulsan, Korea:
'As has been revealed this year, our side’s supporters are about to reach a majority soon. Some of you are so glad that some poor sustainable-use countries could not attend this meeting. However, next year they will all participate, the reversal of history, the turning point, is soon to come.'
Those "poor sustainable-use countries" would be the ones that Japan buys into the commission to vote against whale conservation.
Full text of Mister Nakamae's interesting speech is below.
Japan: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, let me make a statement. I am Nakamae, Deputy Director General of the Fisheries Agency of Japan. I have attended 5 IWC related meetings since Shimonoseki annual meeting, including the special intercessional meetings as well. I suppose many of you at this forum may not know me well, compared with constant Commissioner Mr. Morimoto, former Alternate Commissioner Mr. Komatsu, and new Alternate Commissioner Mr. Morishita, who are well known. I haven’t had a chance to make a statement in past meetings. However, I feel I have contributed in many ways to other constructive international conferences, such as tuna related meetings, so you might have known me in other fora.
Meanwhile, I have deepened my confidence by looking at the result of this year’s voting. It may sound strange to say this after the adoption of a resolution opposed to JARPA II, but what’s important is the background and substantive contents of the research so far, and I am fully aware of the of the meaning of the number of votes at this meeting.
I wonder if the people who continue to oppose the Japanese research know the following: the hardship and toil of the crews who work in the severe environment of the Antarctic, far away from the home country, covered in cold sea water and whale oil, and they are engaged in long hours of research activities to conduct over 100 items of study for whales, despite the conditions on slippery decks.
It is a world beyond the imagination of those of you who continue discussions remote from reality in this comfortable room.
They believe that the cetaceans are the resources to save the Earth and mankind in the future, and that their mission is to open a way for its sustainable utilisation, that is why they work so hard day and night.
The anti-whaling people who criticise us with empty, unbearable emotional languages full of lies, vulgarity, lacking grace, maybe to those it is useless to say anything, because they have blocked discussion by power vote when the course of discussion turns inconvenient for them. However, the concept that we advocate, the sustainable use of the stocks based upon the scientific grounds, has gained increasing importance every year, with more support.
As has been revealed this year, our side’s supporters are about to reach a majority soon. Some of you are so glad that some poor sustainable use countries could not attend this meeting. However, next year they will all participate, the reversal of history, the turning point, is soon to come.
(“point of order” heard)
Some people who always try to find fault with the scientific whaling, which is legally provided for in the Convention itself…
Chair: Excuse me, Japan, I heard a point of order, but 2 things before that. I would simply say to you that I naturally, from a personal basis, understand your disappointment. But I think you are moving outside our agenda with these remarks, so please, I asked a question. I fully understand your disappointment from an ordinary human point of view, but we have an agenda here, we have conducted a vote, it had an outcome, and I have invited Japan to inform the Plenary how they may wish to proceed on the other draft resolution, so I cannot entertain discussions that are outside our agenda item. Please understand that, Japan, and I please ask Japan to return to my question as to how it wishes to proceed with Resolution No. 26. [Japan’s resolution supporting ‘scientific’ whaling.]
Japan (Nakamae). I understand, so I will be very brief. Mr. Chairman, I would like to express my respects to our colleague researchers who have continued to provide data and scientific information on whale stocks so far, and here, I declare, we will surely and sincerely be engaged in the new phase of research, taking into account the significance of future research, as well as encouraging support from supporting countries.
Meanwhile, with regard to this Resolution, No. 26, we have (tape ends). (Resolution withdrawn).