IWC "Normalisation" meeting to begin

Feature story - 12 February, 2007
This week the Japanese government will host a meeting of predominately pro-whaling International Whaling Commission (IWC) members in Tokyo.The stated purpose of the meeting, which is not part of the official Commission agenda, is to "normalize" the IWC. Almost without exception pro-conservation members of the Commission have agreed not to attend. It is expected that the Japanese government will use the occasion to claim there is support for a resumption of commercial whaling.

The Japanese Fisheries Agency whaling fleet leaves Shimonoseki, Japan bound for the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary with plans to harpoon 935 minke whales and 10 endangered fin whales.

Junichi Sato, our Project Leader in Greenpeace Japan, explains what "normalise" means.  "'Normalising' is a codeword for commercialising the IWC," he says.  "Greenpeace believes the IWC needs to be reformed, but into a body that works for the whales and not the whalers."

"It is time that the conservation countries at the IWC put as much effort into defending the whales as the pro-whaling nations are putting into overturning the moratorium," Junichi added.

Greenpeace Japan has put together a report outlining the links between the Japanese government's "Grant Aid for Fisheries (Fisheries Aid)"

and the recruitment of countries to the IWC who subsequently vote with Japan. 

About two thirds of the countries attending the "normalisation" meetinghave been given foreign aid by Japan in previous years and have votedwith Japan each year to push for a resumption of commercial whaling.

Download report

Report on Japanese Fisheries Aid and IWC Voting patterns

Ship weblog

Updates straight from the Southern Ocean and the "Normalisation" meeting in Tokyo