This year's battle for whales comes to an end

IWC meeting in Shimonseki, Japan ends in controversy

Feature story - 24 May, 2002
The democratic process took a pummeling again today at the IWC when the indigenous peoples of the Inuit and Chukotka were denied their quota for a second time.

Kids-for-Whales protest at the IWC.

Japan now has the US over a barrel as it is obliged by its treaty obligations with the Inuit to grant them their whaling quota.

To meet their treaty requirements the US will now have to contravene the IWC decision, setting a precedent that Japan and its alternate delegate Masayuki Komatsu will find very useful in pursuing their target of another 25 minke whales for their coastal whalers.

Richard Page, Greenpeace oceans campaigner pointed out that, "Subsistence whaling is very different to the Fisheries Agency of Japan´s request for 25 minke whales for coastal whaling."

"Coastal whaling is for profit, not to simply survive. Coastal whaling is commercial whaling, not subsistence whaling.

The Japanese government's manipulation of the meeting through vote buying made

a mockery of the IWC's democratic process. With vote buying Japan effectively wields 15 votes, instead of just one.

Despite this vote buying strategy, the Fisheries Agency of Japan failed to gain a resumption of commercial whaling. But the Government of Japan will continue to carry out some commercial whaling under the dishonest title of "scientific research".

Proposals by the Government of Japan for secret ballots, which would have provided cover for vote buying and viewed by many as undemocratic, also failed.

Greenpeace is obviously disappointed that the proposals for a South Pacific Whale Sanctuary and a South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary failed. Given that these proposals had the support of the countries within the sanctuary, it is extremely disturbing that the governments of Japan, Norway, Antigua and Barbuda, Palau and many others

see fit to deny these countries their wishes.