Within hours of the tsunami that struck northern Japan last March, the internet was abuzz with the somewhat bizarre suggestion that the earthquake and wave which followed might be some sort of cosmic retribution for Japanese whaling. Regardless of what one thinks of that suggestion, the Japanese whaling industry was hard hit by the tsunami. Several villages, for which whaling had traditionally been their major industry, were virtually wiped out. Japanese Town Mulls Future Without Whaling Industry
Nevertheless, the Japanese intend to continue what they refer to as “research whaling.” This year, they plan on harvesting up to 900 whales, primarily minkes, which are not endangered. The announcement that the government of Japan is providing the whalers with 2.28 billion yen ($37.6 million) from funds set aside for tsunami recovery has led to protests, within Japan and internationally. Japan uses disaster funds for whaling
A total of 18 Japanese non-government organisations, including the Environmental Lawyers Federation and Consumers Union have signed on to a protest letter to Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.
“We demand the government not waste any more taxpayers’ money on the whaling program, but instead spend this money on projects that actually help the people, communities and region affected by the tragic March 11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis,” the letter said.
In the mean time, the Japanese whaling fleet departed for the Antarctic on Tuesday. The reality TV show farce, the Sea Shepherds, are expected to follow shortly. And so the circus goes on.