If you want to shoot a whale - use a CANON.…But only if Canon tells the whalers to lose the harpoons
We wrote to Canon headquarters in Japan asking their CEO to
speak out against Japan's whaling programme. But Canon declined to
take a stand against the killing of thousands of whales in the
Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Is this really wildlife as Canon
Around the world, Canon cameras shoot whales on whale-watching
expeditions but in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, many whales
are shot instead with exploding harpoons. Thousands of whales,
including endangered fin whales, have been killed here under the
guise of "scientific research" ever since the global moratorium on
whaling came into force in 1986.
Whale meat from the hunt is sold to a tiny minority of Japanese
people who eat whale meat -- the rest is turned into dog food or
added to the stockpile of around 4,000 tonnes of unsold meat.
Whales can be studied without killing them: the cloak of
"science" merely allows a few Japanese bureaucrats to maintain an
unprofitable whale meat industry at the expense of Japanese
taxpayers. Yet this scandal continues because there is not enough
domestic pressure in Japan to end it.
Mister Fujio Mitarai, the CEO of Canon Japan, is a businessman,
a taxpayer, and the leader of a company that endorses wildlife
conservation. He is also the head of the Nippon Keidanren (Japanese
Business Federation). This is the highest position to which a CEO
can aspire in the Japanese business world and it means having the
ear of the Prime Minister.
His voice could help put an end to a decades-old scientific hoax
and subsidy scandal, and add weight to Canon's claims to
environmental concern by actually saving the whales that advertise
Canon cameras. So we asked him to speak out against whaling within
Japanese society by signing the following statement to clarify
"Canon is committed to building a better world for future
generations, and does not support the hunting of endangered or
threatened species with anything other than a camera. Canon
believes the lethal whaling research programme in the Southern
Ocean should be ended, and replaced with a non-lethal research
Unfortunately, Canon has so far refused our request, saying "We
fully recognise the importance of protecting endangered wildlife.
We have continuously put our advertisements featuring "endangered
species" in National Geographic since 1981."
However, their letter concluded,"scientific opinion about
research whaling varies... we will not signthe statement you have
But the whales need a powerful domestic ally in Japan -- so now
we're asking our supporters (and especially Canon customers) to
urge him to reconsider, and express his disapproval of lethal
If Japan wants to do research, it can do so with cameras and
other non-lethal means - just as we have been doing through our
Great Whale Trail project, which uses satellite tracking, photo
identification and skin biopsies.
To preserve our independence, we do not accept corporate
donations. Greenpeace is not sponsored by Canon, never has been,
and never will be. We do use Canon cameras - thereare nine of them
aboard the Greenpeace ship Esperanza at the moment, one of them in
thehands of Leandra, our on-board scientist doing non-lethal
All were professional or personal purchases. We are not calling
for a boycott on Canon products -- they are not directly involved
in whaling -- we are challenging Canon to match word to deed, and
to take action for the whales, in the same way we seek to inspire
individuals to take action for a better world.
Canon has built a great deal of its brand's reputation for
environmental concern through their sponsorship of environmental
causes, including the conservation of endangered species. Canon
runs a popular series of ads in National Geographic Magazine
entitled "Wildlife as Canon sees it" and supports wildlife
advocacy groups around the world with donations, equipment, and
We believe that when a corporation draws income and brand value
from association with environmental causes, they have a
responsibility to speak out on those issues. We trust that most of
the good folks at Canon, as one of the world's premier "wildlife
brands," share our concern that wildlife in general, and whales in
particular, should not die unnecessarily for "science."
Canon says on
its websitethat it wants to "hand over a beautiful Earth for
A corporation which paints itself as a defender of wildlifeand
one concerned about endangered species and the natural world
oughtto do more than express those values in images,
advertisements, andsponsorships: they need to use their immense
power to speak out and actfor a better world.
Every day,supporters ask: Why no boycott?
Greenpeace does notendorse a general boycott of Japanese
products. We know that themajority of Japanese people do not
actually support whaling, and we areanti-whaling, not
anti-Japanese. We believe such a boycottwould be difficult to
focus, harm the wrong people, and be ineffectivein stopping
Canon advertisement in National
Yet wealso know there are deep sentiments among our supporters
to participatein such a boycott - they write to us literally every
day during thewhaling season either announcing they have launched
their own boycottor wanting to know why Greenpeace doesn't do the
same. Evenin the absence of an organised boycott, whaling harms
Japan's imagewith potential customers.
A few months ago, we heard from awoman who wrote to Toyota in
her home country, New Zealand, to say shewas not going to replace
her Prius with a new one, because Toyota, as aJapanese car company,
had an implicit association with Japan's whalingprogramme.
Toyota New Zealand wrote back to her to say"Please be assured
that Toyota New Zealand and Toyota Motor CorporationJapan do not
condone whaling for commercial, scientific or researchpurposes."
While Toyota Japan later distanced themselves fromthis position, it
demonstrates how much of a liability whaling can befor Japanese
corporations operating in the West.
When we looked at what other Japanesecorporations ought to be
enlisted to speak out domesticallyagainst whaling, Canon leapt out
as an obviouschoice.
"My family and I love canon cameras- they are all we've ever owned, and we will love them even more if you prove to the world that Canon is committed to building a better world for future generations, and does not support the hunting of endangered or threatened species with anything other than a camera.
The earth would be incredibly less beautiful without whales."
Read more letters that have already been sent to Canon
Whaling: more troublethan it's worth
Some Japanese officials are already speaking out about whaling
being a diplomatic liability.The Japanese decision, since put on
hold, to add humpback whales to thelist of species targeted in the
whale hunt led to formal complaintsfrom several of Japan's
The Los Angeles Times quoted oneofficial, who asked to remain
anonymous, as saying "[Whaling] is doingno good for Japanese
diplomacy. Many people are saying Japan is notbalancing its
interests, with a vocal minority dictating a course thatrisks some
of our most cherishedrelationships."
As head of the JapaneseBusiness Federation, Mister Mitarai has a
responsibility not just forCanon's own welfare, but also for the
collective well-being of Japanesebusinesses at home and abroad --
where whaling is a liability forJapanese brands and
If you think Mister Mitaraishould actively defend whales in the
Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary youcan write to him by clicking on
the link below.
Tell the CEO of Canon that he shouldn't support the needless killing of threatend whales for science.
To maintain its independence, Greenpeace accepts no donations from corporations. We rely entirely on support from millions of people like you.