With their people and economy still reeling from this year’s tragic and horrific earthquake and tsunami, the Japanese government is reportedly proceeding with plans to resume whaling in the Southern Ocean. Even more mind-numbing is news that an additional $25M US will be added to the estimated $40M cost of the program to beef up security for the whaling fleet.
“The Japanese do not want to give in to Sea Shepherd, they don’t want to bow to the threats and the obstruction they’ve seen on the high seas, they’re going to keep face and they’re going to ensure that whaling will survive,” reported Mark Willacy of ABC.net.au.
“This is a program Japan doesn’t need in a time of financial crisis when there are people without homes, there are communities that have been totally wiped out,” he later added. “That money, that whaling money could possibly be better spent on those sorts of programs. That is probably what the Japanese government is going to now face, that sort of opposition to whaling.”
In response, the Sea Shepherd wasted absolutely no time issuing a press release slamming Japan for its decision.
“Japan’s confirmation that they will resume their whaling program is an insult to all of the anti-whaling nations that so generously contributed to the relief of the tsunami and earthquake victims,” said Sea Shepherd President and Founder Captain Paul Watson. “They have accepted foreign aid to help the victims of that tragedy, and are now shifting funds to perpetuate this illegal and obscene massacre of defenseless whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. It now seems they are simply obsessed with killing whales not for need or for profit, but because they believe they have the right to do and kill what they wish in an established international whale sanctuary, just for the sake of defending their misplaced ‘honor.’ It’s a disgrace and a smack in the face to everyone who stepped forward to help in their time of need.”
According to Watson, the conservation organization will be ready for whatever Japan decides to challenge them with this year, vowing once more to put their lives on the line for the whales. “They will have to kill us to prevent us from intervening once again,” said Captain Watson. “Are the Japanese people ready to take human lives in defense of this horrifically cruel and illegal slaughter of endangered and protected species of whales? Do we have to die to appease Japanese honor? If so, my answer to the Japanese government is “hoka hey” (Lakota for ‘it’s a good day to die’), and we will undertake whatever risks to our lives will be required to stop this invasion of arrogant greed into what is an established sanctuary for the whales.”
Operation Divine Wind, the campaign hinted at for months, now appears ready to move forward. It will be the organization’s eighth operation in the Southern Ocean and include over 100 volunteers. The group’s three ships, the Bob Barker, Steve Irwin, and the Brigette Bardot will all likely take part; though it remains to be seen whether a rumored fourth vessel might also materialize.