Subject: Japan and whale sanctuary

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Mon, 20 May 1994 13:53:05

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Subject: Japan and whale sanctuary
 
From:	SMTP%"MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET" 20-MAY-1994 12:12:49.74
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Subj:	Japan seeks compromise
 
Date:         Fri, 20 May 1994 09:07:39 PDT
Reply-To:     Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
              <MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET>
Sender:       Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
              <MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET>
From:         r.mallon1@genie.geis.com
Subject:      Japan seeks compromise
To:           Multiple recipients of list MARMAM <MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET>
 
 JAPAN SEEKS COMPROMISE OVER WHALE SANCTUARY BID
    TOKYO, May 18 (Reuter) - Japan, the world's biggest consumer
of whalemeat, will accept a compromise deal with conservationist
nations over a planned whale sanctuary in the Antarctic, a
Japanese official said on Wednesday.
    ``Japan will not oppose any idea of establishing a
scientifically founded sanctuary,'' a Fisheries Ministry
official said.
    The ministry says minke whales in the Antarctic are now so
numerous that they threaten the survival of other marine species
and hamper the population growth of whales with low fertility
rates, such as blue whales.
    Delegates from 40 member nations of the International
Whaling Commission (IWC) are expected to discuss the sanctuary
proposal at the commission's five-day annual conference, which
begins on May 23 in Mexico.
    The sanctuary was first suggested by France in 1992 and the
idea is co-sponsored by Australia, Brazil, the Netherlands, New
Zealand, Spain, Britain and the United States.
    If the proposal is adopted, commercial whaling in Antarctic
waters south of 40 degrees latitude would be banned
indefinitely.
    ``The Japanese government is now studying a compromise or
counterproposal,'' the Fisheries Ministry official said.
    He refused to give details of such a counterproposal, but
said it might call for a smaller sanctuary than the one demanded
by France and allow for commercial catching of minke whales
only.
    Whaling nations argue that commercial killing of minke
whales on a limited scale causes no harm and actually
contributes to the whales' preservation.
    According to the IWC's scientific committee, there are
760,000 minke whales in the Antarctic.
    Minkes are the smallest of the great whale species, and as a
result have been the least hunted, and remain the most numerous.
    The Japanese Fisheries Ministry claims that even IWC data
shows that up to 2,000 minkes could be caught in the Antarctic
each year with no damage to stocks.
    The international environmental group Greenpeace said last
week the IWC was almost certain to adopt the Antarctic sanctuary
proposal.
    Despite an IWC worldwide moratorium on commercial whaling,
Japan has been authorised to catch 300 minke whales a year in
the Antarctic.
    This is ostensibly for ``research purposes'' but most of the
meat ends up in restaurants.
    Japanese Prime Minister Tsutomu Hata on Tuesday rejected
pleas to stop killing whales in the Antarctic, saying Japan
needed to continue ``research whaling.''
    ``It is important for Japan to continue research whaling to
accumulate knowledge,'' Hata told the head of the International
Fund for Animal Welfare.