Japan Using Disaster Aid Funds to Protect Whaling against Protests

Friday, December 09, 2011
(photo: Save Our Species)
Japan’s government is being criticized for spending some of its earthquake disaster relief funds on its whaling fleet, which has struggled to meet its quotas due to harassment from conservationists.
 
The Fisheries Agency plans to spend an extra $30 million to support this year’s whale hunting expedition, which hopes to capture 900 whales. Last year, a three-vessel fleet failed to catch even a quarter of its goal after the anti-whaling Sea Shepherd Conservation Society harassed and chased the whalers all the way to the tip of South America.
 
Japanese officials justified the extra expenditure on the fleet by claiming that a larger haul this year will help revive the whaling town of Ayukawa, which was devastated by the March 11 earthquake.
 
Meanwhile, with the support of the Japanese government, The Institute of Cetacean Research, which operates Japan’s whaling program, and Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha, which owns the whaling ships, are suing Sea Shepherd in U.S. federal court in an attempt to stop the anti-whaling group from following the whale hunters.
 
Commercial whaling was banned in 1986, but the Japanese claim they are doing research because lethal research is still allowed.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
 
Use of Recovery Funds Stokes Japan Whaling Row (by Yoree Koh, Japan Realtime)
Japan Funding Whaling Hunt with Disaster Budget (by Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press)
Japan Whaling Operator Sues Sea Shepherd (by Miwa Suzuki, Agence France-Presse)

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