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.
the poll reveals that 71 percent of Japanese people don't
support their country's whaling on the high seas - an increase from
69 percent in 2006.
The poll was conducted by Nippon Research Centre, a member of
Gallup International Association and surveyed over 1,000 people
aged 15 to 60, between January 18 and 23.
It found that in general only 31 percent of people backed
whaling, 25 percent opposed it and 44 percent had no opinion.
The low levels of support for whaling in principle and strong
rejection of whaling on high seas comes in stark contrast to the
claims from the Fisheries Agency of Japan, which issues permits for
the so-called scientific whale hunt, that it's acting in defence of
Japan's cultural traditions.
It is clear that they do not enjoy anything like majority
support for whaling and in fact are operating in opposition to the
general will of the Japanese people.
Amazingly, 87 percent of those surveyed didn't know that their
hard-earned yen is being squandered on subsidising the Fisheries
Agency of Japan's annual assault on the Southern Ocean Whale
They will also be blissfully unaware of
plans under consideration by their Government to spend between
14 billion and 21 billion yen (US$125 million to US$188 million) of
tax payers money on building a new factory whaling ship to replace
the ageing whaling fleet factory ship the Nissin Maru.
Whaling takes a hit in Japan
As our offices around the world are lobbying their governments
to take a hard line on Japanese whaling at the upcoming
International Whaling Commission meeting in Chile this June, our
campaign in Japan is growing.
Greenpeace Japan has been urging supermarkets and restaurants
not to offer whale meat with three of the top five supermarkets
chains responding positively. 'Watami', a famous pub chain, with
over 600 restaurants all over Japan, has also confirmed that whale
is off the menu.
Fewer and fewer people in Japan are eating whale meat, leading
to declining demand and an unsold stockpile of nearly 4,000 tonnes
of whale meat. In a desperate attempt by the bureaucrats of the
Japanese Fisheries Agency to reverse the trend and create
artificial support for their unpopular product, the whale meat has
been subsidised, pushed into school lunches and used as dog
Media picture changing
When our ship, the Esperanza, stopped the whaling fleet earlier
this year in the Southern Ocean for fourteen days by chasing the
fleet's factory ship, traffic to our Japanese website grew to the
point that we were seeing more traffic in an hour than is normally
seen in a day. Helping to fill the information void in Japan and
carrying our message about whaling to the hearts and minds of
We are also witnessing a changing media landscape in Japan.
There have been fewer references to Greenpeace as "terrorists" and
more newspapers and television stations acknowledging our
commitment to non-violence.
Newspapers and magazines in Japan which have in the past been
silent or pro whaling are also beginning to question the wisdom of
whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
Normally, the Fisheries Agency of Japan tries to refrain of
commenting on the whale hunt - preferring to leave that to their PR
man based in New Zealand, Glenn Ingwood.
This year however, we have seen the results of increasing
diplomatic pressure with the Japanese Foreign Ministry and Prime
Minister both feeling compelled to respond. "The whaling issue is a
matter of each country's circumstances," Prime Minister Fukuda said
urging: "It's important to address the whaling issue in a calm
Diplomatic embarrassment runs deep, as a BBC correspondent in
Tokyo recently wrote:
"The unfortunate bureaucrats in the Foreign Ministry in Tokyo
who are required to defend whaling on our channels and those of
other broadcasters often admit quietly, once the camera is switched
off and the microphone unplugged, that this is not a subject they
Their frustration is not directed at the interviewers, who all
too often give them a roasting, demanding they defend what to many
It is their fellow pen-pushers at the Fisheries Ministry who are
making life difficult for them by continuing to prop up a whaling
industry that sullies the reputation of Japan around the
A leading business magazine, Shukan Toyo Keizai recently wrote,
"The stance of whaling hardliners could also be a vent for
narrow-minded nationalism. In the end, that could easily be
detrimental to national interests. Perhaps the Japanese people need
to take this opportunity to re-examine the whaling issue for
Canon can end whaling
It is not only the politicians that are feeling the heat. As
part of our work in Japan, we are also
calling on the CEO of Canon, Fujio Mitarai, to use his position
as the head of the influential Japanese Business Federation (Nippon
Keidanren) to call for an end to whaling on the high seas.
Canon is famous for using wildlife as a marketing tool for its
cameras for over 25 years. If Canon takes the concept of Corporate
Social Responsibility seriously, it shouldn't miss this chance to
use its corporate might to oppose lethal research whaling.
With the decision to
back off on plans to kill humpback whales this year, the
whalers are on the defensive for the first time in decades. Now is
the time for all of us to pressure Japanese businesses and
government officials to join with Greenpeace, and 71 percent of the
Japanese public, and call for an end the research whaling programme
in the Southern Ocean.
Canon can help stop whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary - send a message to Canon CEO, Mr. Fujio Mitarai.
Help end whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary for good by making a donation today.