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The Clash Over Japanese Whaling

I was watching the Today Show this morning and they had Peter Garrett on there saying that the Australian government is going to send a Customs Department boat to monitor the Japanese whaling fleet to gather evidence against the Japanese to bring to an international court. For the last two weeks the Today Show has been bashing the Japanese and brought on guests like Garrett to help with the bashing as well.

The fact that the Australian government is deploying a customs boat is a compromise to the eco-loons who wanted to deploy the Royal Australian Navy. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is a smart guy and I predicted he wouldn’t deploy the Australian Navy because of the expected response from the Japanese government to deploy their massive naval armada if such measures were taken. Deploying a customs boat gets the eco-loons off his back while not greatly offending the Japanese government. Also Garrett’s claims of gather evidence to bring to an international court is just another attempt to placate the eco-loons. PM Rudd knows full well that what the Japanese are doing is perfectly legal because the whale hunt is sanctioned by the International Whaling Commission that sets quotas for scientific research. The claim of gathering evidence is just more rhetoric to appease the eco-loons that will ultimately not go anywhere.

What I find interesting about the debate on whaling on the Today Show or any other show in Australia that I have seen is that no one from Japan is brought on to provide a Japanese perspective. Why are the Japanese denied their side of the story on whaling? Could it be because they make a pretty strong argument so it is best to not give them a voice?

For those that don’t know, the Japanese have a population of a 128 million, but their home islands can only produce food for 40% of their population. That is why seafood has always been a staple of the Japanese diet. Many Japanese feel it is hypocritical of countries like Australia and New Zealand that have small populations, but abundant land to grow food on to criticize the Japanese for providing food for their population. Many of Japanese feel that if these countries don’t want the Japanese to harvest whales through the legal means that the IWC has allowed them to, then these countries should provide the equivalent amount of food free of charge to Japan. Even though the vast majority of people in Japan do not eat whale they do not want to bend on whaling because of what the eco-loons will demand next which is probably bans on more popular sea food such as tuna.

The fact that few Japanese eat whale meat is evident by the historically low numbers of whales the Japanese have hunted over the decades. Many Japanese find it very hypocritical that the western nations that were responsible for whales reaching the point of extinction in the first place due to the heavy demand of whale oil, are condemning Japan now for the low level of whaling they continue to do. Many cities along the coast of Australia were actually founded by whalers. Australia’s early economy was based on whaling before agriculture took hold to become the main export. This leads to the next point that Australia is further hypocritical because of the clearing of land in Australia for agriculture has led to massive deforestation and environmental damage leading to the extinction of numerous Australian species with more species being threatened with extinction today.

One of the national icons of Australia the koala is now a threatened species with only 100,000 left in the wild due to the loss of habitat, road kill, and disease. In the most anti-whaling nation on Earth, New Zealand, their national icon the kiwi bird is quickly approaching extinction with only 20,000 left. At the current rate of decline the kiwi will be extinct in approximately 20 years. Once again this is brought on by loss of habitat, road kill, and introduced species in New Zealand. Both of these national icons number a far lower than the total number of minke whales which total 184,000 left in the wild that the Japanese are whaling for. The Japanese are not causing whales to go extinct if they stick to the whaling quota given to them by the IWC but national icons of both Australia and New Zealand are going extinct. So how come no one is protesting demanding these nations protect these animals?

Can anyone imagine what the reaction would be in Australia if Japanese protesters came and started attacking farmers, loggers, and real estate developers to protect koalas? What would the reaction in New Zealand be if the Japanese did the same thing in New Zealand in the name of protecting kiwi birds? Better yet what would this nation think if the Japanese military was mobilized to monitor the protection of these species?

It is this hypocrisy that explains why many people in Japan think there is a racial component to the attacks on Japanese whaling. Especially when there is no outrage or attacks against Northern European whaling which operate as true commercial enterprises outside of the whaling rules established by the IWC. I think it is more ignorance than racism but I would think everyone would agree that the hypocrisy of the issue is truly stunning.

The actions of the environmental movement have in fact caused the Japanese government to turn the issue into one of nationalism by wanting their people to stand up against the western hypocrites. The Japanese government has now included whale meat in school lunches in show of solidarity with the whalers. If the eco-loons had actually approached the issue in a responsible and mature manner, the eating of whale meat probably would have naturally died off in Japan because the older people that grew up eating it would eventually age and pass away over the years. Now due to the eco-loons, a whole new generation of Japanese children will now grow up eating whale meat. Think about that the next time you hear someone lionize the actions of the eco-loons.

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