Greenpeace Japan spokesperson Junichi Sato discusses vote buying outside the "Normalization" meeting for the IWC, organised by the Japanese government.
We are not exactly surprised - the mission statement of this
meeting was, after all 'to put forward specific measures to resume the function of
the IWC as a resource management organisation'. "That
basically means hunting whales, explains Shane Rattenbury, Head of
Our Oceans campaign, who was at the meeting.
The Japanese government this morning presented a new proposal
for what they claim is "small scale" coastal whaling, but rather
than continue to call it science, it is now being referred to as
"community whaling". However, the plan remains unaltered - to
catch 220 whales, despite having virtually no market, no scientific
justification, and no community benefit.
Business as usual
"This is a clear sign that 'normalisation of the IWC' simply
means continuing with the current situation - catch as many whales
as possible," said Junichi Sato, Greenpeace Japan whales
campaigner. "No new ideas have come from this meeting. The only
concrete proposals are to have secret ballots at the IWC, to hold
closed meetings, to exclude NGO's where possible, and to keep
catching the same number of whales."
It is clear the IWC needs to be modernised - to increase
transparency, and to explore ways to protect whales for the future.
The onus now clearly rests on the governments from other countries
to seize the initiative, and make the IWC a body that works for the
whales and not for the whalers.
Shane added that perhaps the best way to sum up this meeting is
to let the delegates speak for themselves.
"I have worked for 25 years in European affairs and 13 years in the
Brussels Council of Ministers, which works very well, because there is
no access to meetings for press and NGO’s" - one
delegate evidently committed to transparency
"I am a human being, and I get frustrated. I want to see the
resumption of whaling as soon as possible" - the Chair
of the Normalisation meeting.
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