Subject: IWC: Japan to use rifles instead of (fwd)

Mike Williamson (
Thu, 23 Oct 1997 15:26:26 -0400 (EDT)


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 23 Oct 97 02:51:00 GMT 
Subject: Japan to use rifles instead of

Japan to use rifles instead of electric rods

  MONTE CARLO, Oct. 22 (Kyodo) -- Japan is set to offer Wednesday at
the  annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) a
compromise limiting the use of electric rods to kill whales in favor
of  rifles, conference sources said Tuesday.
   Japan, which undertakes limited whaling for research purposes, uses
the rods to kill whales that survive harpoons tipped with explosive
grenades, the main weapon used to catch and kill whales.
   The staunchest antiwhaling nations, such as New Zealand, have
criticized use of the rods as cruel, saying it causes the whale pain.
   Japan counters that electric rods are used to hasten the whale's
   The IWC has urged its members to promote humane killing methods
based  on efficiency, usually measured by the time it takes to kill a
   Following Norway's example, Japan started experiments last year in
the  use of rifles. Based on the results, it has decided to switch to
using  rifles instead of electric harpoons as often as possible.
   However, Japanese officials say the country will not completely
stop  the use of the rods but will opt for either method depending on
   Japanese Fisheries Agency officials said stringent domestic laws for
firearm control have discouraged the import and use of rifles.
   Japan, which gave up commercial whaling in spring 1988, has been
undertaking research whaling since 1987, and has since caught roughly
400 whales in the Antarctic Ocean per year.
   It has caught around 100 whales each year in the northeastern
Pacific  since 1994.