Open Letter to the Govt. of Japan
We are citizen groups active in Japan. Our stance is that the consumption of whale meat is not an indispensable part of the Japanese diet.
It is true that in a certain period after World War II, whale meat was an important source of protein for Japanese people. However, as the war-shattered society recovered, the number of people who continued eating whale meat declined sharply. Nowadays, whale meat is typically consumed as a luxury food, a gourmet specialty item served along with drinks, or presented as a gift.
The Japanese government has insisted to the international community that whale meat is one of Japan's traditional foods that is indispensable for the nation. Despite this claim, the industry and government have had to run various campaigns domestically to encourage whale meat consumption. These campaigns include providing distorted information on people overseas who are opposing whaling as well as routinely attempting to manipulate public opinion by announcing misleading reports on the IWC. The situation, however, has not changed and the majority of Japanese still do not eat whale... [more]
When the contamination of whale meat became an issue, the government contended that it would pose no health concern pointing out that the average amount of whale meat consumed annually per person in Japan is less than 1g. Despite these circumstances, the Japanese government has pushed ahead with an enlarged scale of "scientific" whaling and has attempted to resume commercial whaling, ignoring the international rules. These actions benefit only a minority of people and businesses, and do not represent the general consensus of the Japanese people.
As groups and individuals acting in Japan, we demand the following of the Japanese government:
- Stop the scientific whaling of sperm whales and Bryde's whales in the Northwest Pacific that is scheduled to start this summer.
- Abandon lethal methods of research and pursue instead non-lethal research. Stop killing whales under the name of science.
- Stop any activities aiming for the resumption of commercial whaling such as fisheries aid to buy the pro-whaling votes of other countries;
- Exercise strict control over smuggled and/or illegally caught whale meat.
- Immediately alert consumers regarding the health risk of consuming whale meat contaminated with chemical substances.
- Stop using taxpayer's money to propagate biased reports designed to promote whaling.
This letter to the government of Japan was signed by 73 organizations and prominent individuals in Japan, including the Japan Wildlife Conservation Society, the Japan Consumers' Union, the Elsa Nature Conservancy, the Hokkaido Animal Conservation Society, and the Japan Animal Welfare Society.