The social and political side of Japan’s continued Antarctic whaling would be fascinating if it weren’t so disgusting:
Excerpt from the article:
Back in February, Rupert Wingfield-Hayes wrote an insightful piece for BBC about why Japan continues to support whaling despite having every reason to quit. The public isn’t particularly gung-ho about it, but there’s a fair bit of inertia. Japanese politicians have long supported whaling, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is from a whaling town. Many officials know the practice is obsolete — but still can’t quit it:
The answer from the Japanese government is that whaling is an ancient part of Japanese culture, that fishermen have caught whales for centuries, and that Japan will never allow foreigners to tell its people what they can and cannot eat. …
Recently I was at a private briefing with a high-ranking member of the Japanese government. Japan had just announced it was going to resuming whaling. I outlined to him why I thought it made no sense, and asked him to respond. His answer was astonishingly frank.
“I agree with you,” he said. “Antarctic whaling is not part of Japanese culture. It is terrible for our international image and there is no commercial demand for the meat. I think in another 10 years there will be no deep sea whaling in Japan.”
“So why not stop now?” asked another journalist.
“There are some important political reasons why it is difficult to stop now.” he said. He would say no more.
Photo courtesy of The Japan Times. Kudos to The Japan Times for running a less than flattering article about the Japanese whaling program.