Greenpeace Japan whales campaigner Sakyo Noda sends a message home by holding the Japanese symbol,'nise', meaning FAKE - against the hull of the Japanese whaling fleet's factory ship Nisshin Maru.
On board an inflatable running parallel to the giant factory
ship, Greenpeace Japan whales campaigner
Sakyo Noda held the Japanese kanji symbol 偽 ("nise"), meaning "fake", next to
the word "RESEARCH" which has been painted by the Japanese
Fisheries Agency on the Nishim Maru's hull. Reflecting a growing
disquiet in Japanese society, 偽 was voted the best
kanji symbol of the year for 2008. Its choice reflects recent
food mislabeling scandals, problems over political funds and faulty
pension records. Greenpeace Japan is now using it to show that the
use of taxpayers money to fund "scientific" whaling which yields no
useful science is yet another government scandal.
Due to self-censorship, until recently the whaling issue has not
been given much attention in the Japanese news media. Being against
whaling was thought to be against Japanese culture. This created a
"whalers' sanctuary" inside Japanese society that protected a small
number of bureaucrats, whalers and politicians who have vested
interests in whaling -- all at the expense of the taxpayer. But
finally things are changing, as
the truth is beginning to hit home.
Today, one of Japan's leading newspapers, the Asahi Shimbun, called into
question the validity of the whaling programme, by asking "Why is
the Japanese government so insistent on engaging in whaling?". The
report cited concerns about the use of taxpayers' money, dubious
science, the lack of interest from the fishing industry in
supporting the whaling programme and the fact that former employees
of the Japanese government Fisheries Agency were "parachuted" into
key (and well paid) roles in the supposedly independent Institute
of Cetacean Research - the agency which commissions the whaling
For many years the Japan Fisheries Agency has claimed that
whaling is integral to Japanese culture. Yet when shown pictures of
modern whaling in the Southern Ocean, complete with factory ships
and grenade-tipped harpoons, Japanese people don't recognise
anything traditional about it. In fact, modern whaling methods
were introduced by the US after World War II as a means of
addressing food shortages.
Further, a survey conducted by the Nippon Research Centre, in
2006, showed that over 95 percent of the public had never or very
rarely eaten whale meat. It also found that 90 percent of Japanese
people had no idea their government hunted whales in the Southern
Ocean Whale Sanctuary, and once they were aware of it, 69 percent
disagreed with it.
Japan has over 4000 tonnes of frozen whale meat in storage, and
despite the government's attempts to make eating it part of
Japanese culture, the public just aren't interested. Instead, there
is a growing interest in the campaign to end whaling in the
Southern Ocean. TheGreenpeace Japan website
has been attracting an extraordinaryincrease in traffic. Last week
the number of page views jumped from10,000 a day to 10,000 in one
Visitors to the web site are also writing letters to Japanese
governmentministers asking them to stop squandering tax payers
money on whaling, via an online petition.
The real beneficiaries of Japanese whaling are a few bureaucrats
who maintain the industry on subsidies to cover shrinking whalemeat
sales, while damaging Japan's reputation and profitability abroad.
It's time for the taxpayers, the media, and the business community
of Japan to call for an end to this scandal.
Take Action: Stop the new whaling ship
If Japan succeeds in plans to build a new whaling factory ship, whaling could continue for decades. Tell the Japanese Prime Minister that building the new factory ship is a bad idea.
Help raise money to save whales
Create your own Whale Defenders page; get your friends and family to help you defend the whales.