Statement translated from the original Japanese
To: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
Yuji Yamamoto, Director-General of Fisheries Agency Kazuo Sato
We, Iruka & Kujira (Dolphin & Whale) Action Network, Greenpeace Japan and a collective of Japanese NGOs, request the Government of Japan to undertake the following:
1. Respect past resolutions adopted by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), and do not issue new permits intended to approve research whaling in Antarctica and the Northwest Pacific ocean, including for ‘coastal research whaling.’
2. Revoke the budget for restarting commercial whaling, since industrial whaling companies have already abandoned this as a viable business venture and there is no possibility of private firms newly entering this industry.
3. Reallocate the ¥5.1 billion budget currently allocated to research whaling and instead allocate this funding for research on coastal ecosystems and marine resources, to preserve the health of the sea.
・In 1986, with the onset of the moratorium on commercial whaling, Japan started its research whaling program. This is authorized by Article III of the International Convention on Regulation of Whaling (ICRW), however, the implications of such research whaling was vastly different back then, when countries were still engaged in commercial whaling. This is reflected by the statement made by a scientist who said he was expecting the sample size to be less than ten. (1) Since then, Japan has taken about 15,000 whales from the Antarctica and the Northwestern Pacific.
・The implementation body of the ICRW, the International Whaling Commission (IWC), has adopted 22 resolutions that called for the cessation of, or diminution of Japan’s research whaling. (2)
・In 2014, the International Court of Justice ruled that the research conducted by Japan’s Special Permit programme in the Antarctic (JARPA II) could not be recognized as a practice serving the purpose of scientific research.
・In the same year, Japan drew up a draft of the New Scientific Whale Research Program in the Antarctic Ocean (NEWREP-A), which Japan claimed abided by the ICJ ruling.(3) Regarding this plan, IWC Scientific Committee’s Expert Review Panel pointed out that there was no need for the lethal sampling method adopted in NEWREP-A, based on the nature of their research. Also, at the 65th IWC meeting held in 2014 parties adopted a resolution that any whaling conducted under special permit must be discussed by the Commission based on advice from the Scientific Committee.(4)
・Japan implemented the lethal sampling of 333 minke whales in fiscal year 2015/2016 based on the new plan, stating that it cleared the issues raised by the expert panel.(5)
・The domestic consumption of whale meat has dropped to mere 30 grams per year per person, making up only 0.1% of the total marine product consumption in Japan.(6) Despite this fact, the budget request for research whaling is 5.1 billion yen, which is astonishing compared to the 4.1 billion-budget for resources from all other marine resources combined, except for cetaceans.(7)
・We must stop research whaling that brings merit to only a handful of people. Instead, allocate the whaling budget for the preservation of the sea, which does require our immediate attention. That is what is expected of Japan, not only by the international community, but also by current and future generations of Japanese people.
(1) 2014 ICJ testimony of the Japanese side appraiser Lars Waro Dr. oral argument
(4) IWC65 resolution
A life in Viable Environment( ALIVE)
Animal Rights Center
Association for Protection of Marine Community (AMCo)
Biodiversity Information Box
Choices for Tomorrow (CFT)
Circle Of Life
Citizens Against Chemicals Pollution
Japan Civil Network for the United Nations Decade of Biodiversity
Japan Tiger and Elephant Fund( JTEF)
Japan Wildlife Conservation Society (JWCS)
Put End to Animal Cruelty and Exploitation(PEACE)
Save the Dugong Campaign Center
The Japanese Coalition for Animal Welfare
Voice for Zoo Animals
Iruka & Kujira (Dolphin & Whale) Action Network