Greenpeace activists hold a banner that reads 'Fake' beside the Nisshin Maru 'Research' factory ship, clearly marking the whaling operation as fake research.
Send a letter to the Japanese
It is beginning to emerge that Japanese whaling interests want
to build a new factory ship to replace the aging and fire-plagued
Nisshin Maru, which is now 20 years old. The Suisan Keizai
newspaper (a Fisheries Industry publication in Japan) revealed
earlier this year that:
….because the Nisshin Maru is getting old and the capacity to hold whale meat on board is not enough to meet the demands from the new expanded research whaling activity, there are some voices asking for a new factory ship...The factory ship, Nisshin Maru, caught fire not only this year, but also once in the past. And in both cases, the causes of the fire were not identified...
(Translated by Greenpeace)
The "some voices" calling for the new ship are likely to be the
only real beneficiaries of Japan's whaling programme: a handful of
bureaucrats who are abusing public money to carry on a research
programme that generates no useful science and whale meat that sits
unsold and unwanted in cold storage.
The Japanese Fisheries Agency (JFA) has been understandably
quiet about the prospects of spending billions of yen of public
money on a new whaling factory ship. Recent public opinion polls in
Japan have seen the trend of declining whale consumption and the
shunning of whale meat by younger Japanese people continue. The JFA
and the handful of bureaucrats who benefit from whaling are no
doubt hoping the plan stays under wraps until it is too late to
What Does the New Whaling Factory Ship Look Like?
If the Japanese whalers want a factory ship that can hold all
the whale meat taken from the current "research" program (called
JARPA II), the factory ship needs to be able to hold up to 6,000
tons of whale meat . The current Nisshin Maru has capacity to hold
around 2,000 tons. This suggests that the new factory ship will be
at least 2 to 3 times the size of the current one.
The current Nisshin Maru was built with the cost of 7 billion
yen (US$ 63 million) 20 years ago. It's likely a new, larger ship
could easily cost between 14 billion and 21 billion yen (US$125
million to US$188 million).
Who is financing the Construction?
Private financing of the new ship is unlikely as no bank or
other private financial institution would loan money to whaling
given the declining consumption of whale meat in Japan and the risk
to their international reputation.
Therefore, it is most likely that it will be public money from
Japanese government institutions that will be used to build the
ship. The strongest candidate is the Overseas Fishery Cooperation
In March 2007, the OFCF changed their guidelines for giving
loans, mentioning that they will grant loans to proposals that fit
into the category of "Cooperation in international efforts to
manage marine resources." The new guidelines contain a sentence
that clearly suggests their intention to provide loans to whaling
"Cooperation in international efforts to manage marine resources" applies to proposals that make a contribution to ….. the research and study of the management of fish species, including marine mammals…"
(Translated by Greenpeace)
No surprisingly, the chairman of the OFCF is Michio Shimada, the
former director general of the Japan Fisheries Agency, which
oversees the whaling operations. The Japan Fisheries Agency has
also given around 1.2 billion yen (US$10.5 million) in annual
subsidies to OFCF.
If the OFCF is granting loans for construction of the new
whaling factory ship, then Japanese tax money will be used to
finance the construction.
Who is Building the Ship?
Greenpeace has conducted a survey of 23 ship building companies
in Japan asking whether they would be willing to accept an offer to
build the whaling factory ship. The only company among the major
ship builders that did not give a definitive "NO" was Mitsubishi
Heavy Industry LTD.
If Mitsubishi did take the contract to build the new whaling
factory ship, their international reputation would be severely
UPDATE:On December 20th, in the midst of news reports that Japan was on thebrink of reversing its plans to hunt humpback whales in light of publicoutrage and political pressure from the US and Australia, Mitsibushicalled Greenpeace to clarify that they were not building the ship.
How Can We Stop This?
Tell the Japanese Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and
Minister of Administrative Reform that building the new whaling
factory ship with tax payers' money is a bad idea.
Killing whales for fake science which nobody needs and whale
meat which hardly anyone wants is an abuse of Japanese taxpayers'
money. We can not simply wait until a contract is awarded and
Send the letter below
asking Japan to stop plans to build a new whaling factory ship,
and start planning how to end the whaling in the Southern Oceans