Japanese whaling ship heads to the Southern Ocean, funded with taxpayer money

by Cassady Sharp

December 9, 2013

A whale is killed by the harpoon shot by the Yushin Maru catcher ship of the Japanese whaling fleet. Greenpeace is using every available peaceful means to bring the hunt to an early end and make it the last time the Sanctuary is breached by the whalers.

© Greenpeace / Kate Davison

Greenpeacecalled on theJapanesegovernment to end its unprofitablewhalingoperations as the factory ship of the country's so-called scientificwhalingfleet departedfor the Antarctic fromShimonoseki Porton December 7th. The Board of Audit ofJapanhas found that the use by thewhalersof funds appropriated for tsunami disaster relief cannot be accepted as a direct benefit to the recovery efforts and is a questionable expense spent from the disaster funds saidJunichi Sato, Executive Director of Greenpeace Japan. We have called forJapans researchwhalersto return this money, all 2.28 billion yen of it. Thiswhalingmakes no sense as it provides no real science. Only a fewJapaneseeatwhalemeat and there is a years worth already in frozen storage. This expedition expects to lose money and theJapanesetaxpayer will have to pay Junichi Satoadded. In 2012 thewhalingoperation received a special subsidy from a program meant to assist struggling fishing communities. Under that agreement the factory ship was refurbished and 90 percent of all losses will be subsidized but because of the difficulty of sellingwhalemeat thewhalersare restricted to producing no more than 2,400 metric tons ofwhalemeat a year. The factory ship has already produced 1,400 tonnes from the north Pacific nearJapanthis summer, saidJunichi Sato. Their agreement means they cannot take more than 270whalesin the Antarctic. Sales ofwhalemeat will not even cover a fraction of crew wages, let alone the fuel and other costs of running the program. This expedition should be stopped now and the money returned Earlier this yearAustralia has asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to withdraw all permits for futurewhalehunts from theJapanesefleet. The ICJs decision on Australia's case againstJapanesewhalingis expected soon.

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