Subject: Case Study: Japan Whaling View II

Michael Williamson (whe_william)
Mon, 5 Jan 1995 12:27:58

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From: Michael Williamson <WHE_WILLIAM@FLO.ORG>
Subject: Case Study: Japan Whaling View II
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From:         Alan Macnow <>
Subject:      WHALING: JAPAN'S VIEWS, 2 of 2
To:           Multiple recipients of list MARMAM <MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET>
             FROM: Alan Macnow
                   Consultant, Japan Whaling Association
      For participants in this conference who are interested in Japan's
      views on whaling, following is the second of two articles by Mr.
      Kunio Yonezawa, former Commissioner of Japan to the IWC, as pub-
      lished in the Japan Times, 9 Nov. 1994:
              Events in the International Whaling Commission point to a
      rather startling change in the major antiwhaling nations' stance:
      In the last few years, they have gone from advocating science to
      unabashed candidness as regards their earlier hidden agenda.  It
      does not appear to trouble them that this agenda is not only com-
      pletely incompatible with both the spirit and the letter of the
      IWC Convention itself, but also with the concept of sustainable
      use of living marine resources to which these nations pledged
      their support at UNCED two years ago.
              They have cornered themselves into admitting the truth
      about their biases under the weight of scientific evidence against
      them - evidence to which Japan has contributed significantly
      through its research and field surveys.
              Objectively, the scientific irrationality of the commis-
      sion's behavior in refusing to adopt the Revised Management Proce-
      dure (RMP) comes clear in the resignation of the Scientific Com-
      mittee Chairman, Dr. Philip Hammond of Britain, two weeks after
      the 1993 meeting.  He said,"...the work of Scientific Committee
      [on the RMP] was praised and acknowledged by several delegations
      to be complete, but it remained unadopted....(R)easons for this
      were nothing to do with science....[I concluded that] I can no
      longer justify to myself being the organizer of and spokesman for
      a committee whose work is held in such disregard by the body to
      which it is responsible..."
              As things stand now, many in Japan and elsewhere rightly
      doubt the merit of Japan's staying in the IWC.
              However, there is a consideration I see, particularly when
      I sense the beginning of a groundswell in certain Western govern-
      ments, the media, and NGOs against antiwhaling and other extremist
      positions as regards resources management.
              Were Japan to withdraw from the IWC, it would lose the
      formal arena in which to confront the antiwhaling nations with
      reason and science.  For example, at the 1994 meeting, two re-
      searchers, funded by Earthtrust - a U.S. antiwhaling group -
      charged that there is marketing in Japan of illegally caught whale
      meat.  This allegation attracted wide media coverage in the U.S.
      and elsewhere, but the truth was otherwise.
              As they admitted, these researchers did not have even a
      responsibly minimal set of reference type specimens against which
      to check their meager 16 samples.  This led to them to fail to
      distinguish between legally taken Antarctic minke and protected
      humpback whales, among other mistakes.
              They submitted their paper to the IWC Scientific Com-
      mittee, but the committee simply dismissed it as not up to the
      scientific standards necessary for consideration.  Other non-IWC
      scientists, who work in genetics and DNA, have reportedly reached
      similar conclusions.  Sadly, through the misuse of scientific
      techniques, Earthtrust achieved a successful publicity stunt be-
      cause the truth has not been as widely reported.
              For Japan to withdraw from the IWC might please extrem-
      ists, but it would not necessarily help our concern for sustaining
      whaling or further our larger cause.
              The larger cause we stand for goes well beyond the immedi-
      ate issue of whaling.  It encompasses much broader questions,
      among which are the fundamental human right to use natural
      resources responsibly; mutual respect for divergent cultural and
      ethical values; and freedom from tyranny of the majority.  It is
      most presumptuous to seek to impose one's ethical values or pen-
      chant for certain fauna on others who do not share the same views,
      especially when these views are merely ideological and wholly un-
      scientific, as with the IWC.
              However, what remains most unconscionable to me is that a
      civilized government which has signed a treaty can attempt to use
      the treaty organization to promote objectives that are utterly in-
      compatible with the purpose and letter of the agreement.  The ex-
      cuse that the whale issue is somehow an exception is not convinc-