Greenpeace demands Japan end commercial whaling as new financial woes emerge

Press release - September 26, 2012
Tokyo, September 26, 2012 – Greenpeace Japan and the Dolphin & Whale Action Network, a Japanese NGO, today demanded that the Japanese government end taxpayer subsidies for its unprofitable whaling industry as reports revealed that ongoing financial strain may keep Japan’s Southern Ocean whaling fleet in port this year.

The industry is reportedly seeking money from Japan’s 'Profitable Fisheries Support Fund' to prop up its 'scientific' whaling programme, despite separate reports earlier this year that indicated three quarters of the whales caught by the fleet near Japan went unsold at auction.

“The market for whale meat has all but disappeared. Every year this industry sinks further into unmanageable debt and the mountain of whale meat in frozen storage increases. As reports emerge that the main factory ship may stay home, we repeat our call for an end to this senseless hunt,” said Junichi Sato, Greenpeace Japan Executive Director.

“The whaling industry has already stolen taxpayer’s money from the Fukushima recovery effort (1), and is making increasingly desperate attempts to gain government subsidies to literally stay afloat,” added Sato. “This shameful industry remains among the worst examples of waste, made even more outrageous by the desperate need for funds for the post-Fukushima recovery.”

“Continuing a Southern Ocean whaling program would only be a black hole for public money and perpetuate a black mark on Japan’s international reputation. The Japanese government can and must allow this industry to disappear into history – where it belongs.”

Reports in Japan indicate that this year's whaling season could be suspended because of the poor condition of the fleet's aging factory ship and that taxpayer money is being sought to repair the ship, Nisshin Maru.

In response, Greenpeace and the Dolphin & Whale Action Network point out that although Japan’s whalers argue that they are involved in a non-commercial, scientific hunt, they are reportedly seeking funding intended to support profitable fisheries. 

Both groups demand that the Japanese government stop all subsidies to the whaling industry and focus on the recovery and development of sustainable fisheries in East Japan following the tragic March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and resulting nuclear disaster. 

Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment, and to promote peace.

NOTES:
1) Greenpeace Condemns Japanese Government's Whaling Subsidy Increase: http://bit.ly/rR4rwb

Greenpeace Japan and IKAN letter to the Fisheries Agency of Japan and the Japanese Government (Japanese): http://www.greenpeace.org/japan/Global/japan/pdf/20120926.pdf

Contacts:
Greg McNevin, Greenpeace International Communications,, +81 80 5416 6507
Yuki Sekimoto, Greenpeace Japan Communications,, +81 80 5088 3048
Steve Smith, Greenpeace International CommunicationsS, +31 643 787 359
Greenpeace International Press Desk Hotline, Amsterdam +31 20 7182470

 

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