Japan spending disaster funds on whaling-CNN

June 28, 2012

[FACT comments: The Japanese whaling fleet set sail for the Southern Ocean whaling grounds in Antarctica December 6, 2011, with a security vessel carrying crack Japanese paramilitaries. Japan is spending $29 million from an earthquake and tsunami disaster relief fund for “security” against a few underequipped boats filled with young Sea Shepherd volunteers. (Aren’t you glad you gave to charities for Japan?) Sea Shepherd’s annual budget is just shy of three million dollars, or ten per cent of the Japanese govt splurge at the expence of its devastated citizens in a country where 95% of the population reports it never eats whale meat. Bottom line: Whales are an alien species and mankind has an awful lot to learn from them. But you can’t learn from a butchered animal nor can you in any way whitewash this as “research”. Australia maintains that the annual whale hunts violate Japan’s international obligations and is seeking a ruling by the International Court of Justice in The Hague.The Sea Shepherds are the only group enforcing int’l law in the Southern whale sanctuary. Please give generously: http://www.seashepherd.org.]

Japan says some tsunami reconstruction funds going to whaling

Cable News Network: December 8, 2011

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/12/08/world/asia/japan-whaling-funds/index.html

 Shonan Maru No. 2 security ship [Sea Shepherd]

The Japanese government has affirmed that $29 million from its budget for post-earthquake and tsunami reconstruction is going toward extra security measures for the country’s whaling fleet, angering environmental activists like Greenpeace.

The whaling industry is “siphoning money away from the victims of the March 11 triple disaster, at a time when they need it most,” Junichi Sato, executive director of Greenpeace Japan, said this week, referring to the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis that struck Japan in March.

But Tatsuya Nakaoku, an official from the Japanese Fisheries Agency, said Thursday he funds would help “support the reconstruction of a whaling town and nearby area,” which was devastated by the natural disasters.

“Many people in the area eat whale meat,” he said. “They are waiting for Japan’s commercial whaling to resume and it is their hope for recovery.”

The government had said earlier this year, after it passed the tsunami reconstruction budget, that it would strengthen “measures against acts of sabotage by anti-whaling groups,” Nakaoku said.

The government earmarked a total of 498.9 billion yen ($6.4 billion) of the reconstruction budget for spending on fisheries. Of that, 2.28 billion yen has been put into extra security measures for the whaling fleet, which left port for its annual hunt Tuesday.

Japan’s whale hunts are conducted by the Institute of Cetacean Research, a nonprofit research organization overseen by Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

An official from the Japanese Coast Guard said the deployment of guards this year to protect the fleet from obstruction by anti-whaling activists was the largest yet, but declined to give exact numbers. The Coast Guard had previously provided protection to the fleet for its 2007-08 and 2010-11 hunts.

Last season’s whale hunt in the Southern Ocean was cut short when anti-whaling activists from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society blocked strikes on the animals. Sea Shepherd said its actions saved 800 whales, and the organization has promised to be back in force this season.

Japan has faced international pressure to curtail its whaling activities. In 2010, Australia initiated proceedings in the International Court of Justice to stop Japanese whaling.

CNN’s Junko Ogura contributed to this report.

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