Okay, I’m willing to go after critics of Japan’s whaling
industry research program when they get opportunistic and start slinging around WWII analogies, but come on here:
The government wants the public to eat more whale meat to reduce the bloated stockpile and to prevent a rise in international criticism against Japan’s “research whaling” program.
The excess stock stems from Japan’s expanded catch of whales in the name of research, coupled with sluggish demand among consumers for the meat.
Fisheries Agency officials say the mounting stockpile could fuel anti-whaling nations’ arguments that Japan should reduce the number of whales it hunts or terminate the whaling program altogether.
The Fisheries Agency, which does not want to cut back on its research whaling, will develop new sales channels and reduce prices to lift consumption of whale meat, the officials said.
“There are still a large number of consumers who want to eat whale meat,” said an agency official. “If we only improve how to sell the product, the stock will rapidly decrease.”
According to agency officials, whale meat is difficult to sell at major supermarket chains because those stores deal only with products of a certain quantity.
The whale meat supply, although growing, is still smaller than those of other marine products.
If Japan wants to argue that the IWC has been taken over by hard-core environmentalists who will find ways to keep the moratorium on commercial whaling in place even if whales overrun the planet, fine. That wouldn’t be hard to believe. If it’s going to exploit some loophole that allows whales to be culled for research, and do so in order to make a point by being perfectly upfront about the fact that it’s hunting whales, also…well, not fine, perhaps, but possibly a gesture that makes a point that can’t be made any other way.
However, the idea that it’s Japanese consumers’ job to eat more whale meat to cover the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries’s ass when it overhunts is just nuts. If all those whales were necessary for research, then the fact that people aren’t eating them may be kind of too bad, but it’s incidental. If the idea is to keep the Japanese from being deprived of a traditional marine product, then it’s clearly working, but there’s no point in oversupply. And there’s no reason Japan shouldn’t take criticism for misusing a natural resource that isn’t obtained within its own territory.