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Japan's Whale Ban Opponents Feast on Whale Meat

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Despite the United Nation’s International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) ruling that the Japanese government must halt its whaling program, Japanese officials, politicians and other pro-whaling allies vowed to continue the whale hunts.

On March 31, in a twelve to four vote, the Court of Justice  decided that Japan should withdraw all permits and licenses in the Antarctic and refrain from issuing new ones. The court rejected Japan’s contention that the program was scientific, not commercial. The decision was ruled on a suit brought by Australia, which described the hunt as a “ruse” to dodge the prohibition against commercial killing. An international moratorium on commercial whaling has been in place since 1987, but Japan continued to hunt the whales under the pretense of scientific research. The court ruling found that the country’s “killing, taking and treating of whales” was “not driven by strictly scientific consideration.”

As a symbolic gesture of defiance for the court order, hundreds of whale ban opponents feasted on huge buffet of whale meat. While consuming “cutlets, sashimi, steak and other dishes made of whale meat” they shouted ”Whale!” in a toast, pledging to continue their fight to resume the whale hunt.

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said that Japan must protect its whale-eating culture and secure sources of whale meat. Japan as a maritime nation “has a policy of harvesting and sustainably using the protein source from the ocean, and that is unshakable,” Hayashi said. “Based on international law and scientific facts, we will carry out research whaling to obtain necessary scientific information for the management of whale resources and we maintain our policy of aiming for the resumption of commercial whaling,” he added.

Although Japan said it would respect the court’s decision and not hunt whales in the Antarctic this year, the government aims to revise their whaling plans for both the Northwest Pacific and Antarctic, and present them to the International Whaling Commission by the autumn, with a view to restarting Antarctic whaling in 2015, or later.

Japan has yet to call off its whale hunts along the northern coast, and in the northern Pacific, where approximately three hundred minke whales are slaughtered each year.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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  • Karl Malloy

    OK, let’s at least be clear here. The ICJ ordered that the JARPA II was not suitably designed. The Court explicitly stated “The Court finds that JARPA II can broadly be characterized as “scientific research”. It then examines whether its design and implementation are reasonable in relation to achieving the programme’s stated research objectives.” It then decided that JARPA II’s design and implementation were not reasonable, and that the program must be halted. The court very clearly did NOT say that all research whaling must be halted forever.
    The following things are true in the context of this decision:
    1) scientific programs using lethal kills are allowed under ICW
    2) such programs must meet standards for scientific design including total number killed, that match the intended research plan and results.
    3) all countries are free to propose scientific research whaling under ICW, including Japan, but these plans will be held to high standards
    For those who aren’t familiar, the NOAA (US agency that governs fisheries) has applications that explicitly anticipate and allow applications for research that involves lethal taking, even of endangered species, including marine mammals. Proper science does sometimes require lethality, though obviously the US will approve these very rarely.

    • PokerRay

      OK, let’s be at least clear here (your mutilated sentence structure was my first indication of what was to follow), until someone can figure out a way that killing whales benefits science…IT DOESN’T. It hasn’t, it doesn’t and it won’t. Ever. If you want to research whales, research them. Follow them, monitor them, tag them, put remote control cameras in the water. Use our overpriced and obsolete submarine fleet to follow them at a non-intrusive disatance. Just don’t kill them. It’s really that simple once you reason the whole thing out.

      • Karl Malloy

        Science does not equal helping whales. Science is testing a hypothesis. If I wanted to study the hypothesis that squirrels can survive in a 10% oxygen environment, I can design and execute an experiment to tell me the answer. Whether or not it is moral has nothing to do with whether or not it is scientific.

        And more relevantly, if I want to answer the question “can minke populations continue to grow and thrive if 900 whales are hunted each year?”, I would contend that killing 900 whales each year is a great way to test that hypothesis.

        • PokerRay

          The posits that you just used have absolutely no scientific validity. There is no point whatsoever for such a test on squirrels. And there is no scientific validity to killing whales. And I’m the guy with the courts on my side (as well as any number of animal cruelty laws).
          Give it up. As I’ve said for years on this site and others, Japan hasn’t lived up to their own claims that ANY scientific research is happening. It hasn’t.
          This begs the question: Why are YOU so invested in seeing whales die? Why are you defending this? What is it about a murdered whale that gets you up in the morning?

          • Karl Malloy

            If the Courts are on your side then I’m very glad that you agree with the ICJ on this point: “The Court finds that JARPA II can broadly be characterized as scientific research.”

          • PokerRay

            Where are your little word games getting you? I’ve been here for years and that’s all we get from you people. And you guys kept bringing up the law. The law just kicked you out of the Southern Ocean. So now you want to play a different word game. And when that one gets drop kicked, you’ll move on to your NEXT word game.
            Answer the question: Why does your happiness hinge on harpooned whales?

          • Karl Malloy

            And the law allows for scientific research whaling, just as the NOAA allows for lethal take during research in the United States, even if such research is on marine mammals. Sorry that “the law” stands as an evisceration of your position on what is and what is not science.

          • PokerRay

            It’s been a week. Are you going to answer the question or be just one more punk who trys to be a know-it-all as long as no questions are asked?

          • Karl Malloy

            A loaded question or complex question fallacy is a question which contains a controversial or unjustified assumption (e.g., a presumption of guilt).[1]

            Aside from being an informal fallacy depending on usage, such questions may be used as a rhetorical tool: the question attempts to limit direct replies to be those that serve the questioner’s agenda.[2] The traditional example is the question “Have you stopped beating your wife?” Whether the respondent answers yes or no, he will admit to having a wife and having beaten her at some time in the past. Thus, these facts are presupposed by the question, and in this case an entrapment, because it narrows the respondent to a single answer, and the fallacy of many questions has been committed.[2] The fallacy relies upon context for its effect: the fact that a question presupposes something does not in itself make the question fallacious. Only when some of these presuppositions are not necessarily agreed to by the person who is asked the question does the argument containing them become fallacious.[2] Hence the same question may be loaded in one context, but not in the other. For example the previous question would not be loaded if it was asked during a trial in which the defendant has already admitted to beating his wife.[2]

            This fallacy should be distinguished from that of begging the question,[3] which offers a premise whose plausibility depends on the truth of the proposition asked about, and which is often an implicit restatement of the proposition.[4]

            The term “loaded question” is sometimes used to refer to loaded language that is phrased as a question. This type of question does not necessarily contain a fallacious presupposition, but rather this usage refers to the question having an unspoken and often emotive implication. For example, “Are you a murderer?” would be such a loaded question, as “murder” has a very negative connotation. Such a question may be asked merely to harass or upset the respondent with no intention of listening to their reply, or asked with the full expectation that the respondent will predictably deny it.

          • Karl Malloy

            This is getting fun. Now I can eviscerate and show you for the fool that you are with simple cut and paste. Eviscerated again, Ray.

          • Karl Malloy

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