Les baleiniers japonais ont capturé 35 rorquals de Minke (22 mâles et 13 femelles) le long des côtes de l'île septentrionale d'Hokkaido (Pacifique Nord), au cours des mois de septembre et d'octobre. Ils avaient prévu d'en tuer 77, mais les typhons ont ramené leurs prises à moins de la moitié... The Mainichi, ce jour.
KUSHIRO, Japan (Kyodo) -- A Japanese whaling group said Thursday it caught 35 minke whales during what the government calls research whaling in coastal waters off Hokkaido in September and October with the support of the Fisheries Agency.
The whaling in Pacific coastal waters around Japan is authorized by the fisheries minister and conducted by the Fukuoka-based whaling promotion group every year to gather data of the marine mammals, including their stomach contents and body lengths, for the purpose of eventually resuming commercial whaling in the future.
During this year's research off Kushiro, the fleet spotted 47 minke whales and caught 22 males and 13 females, undershooting its target number of 77 as it was hampered by inclement weather such as typhoons.
"We were able to grasp the distribution patterns (of the whales) in waters around Hokkaido in detail," an official of the group said.
During whaling conducted in June and July in coastal waters off Abashiri in Hokkaido, the group caught 47 minke whales. It also hunted 3 minke whales in coastal waters off Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture, during whaling in July and August.
Et l'éditorial du Asahi Shimbun d'hier appelle le gouvernement japonais à changer de politique pour que l'image du pays s'améliore, après la réunion de la Commission Baleinière Internationale qui s'est tenue à Portoroz (Slovénie) du 20 au 28 octobre.
The Japanese envoy to the latest plenary session of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has said the discussions at the meeting represented “a step forward and a step backward” for Japan.
But the assessment is highly disputable. There are concerns that what transpired at the conference, held Oct. 20-28 in the Slovenian seaside town of Portoroz, could only strengthen the view that Japan is ignoring international criticism of its scientific whaling program.
At the conference, New Zealand and Australia denounced Japan for resuming its controversial scientific whaling efforts in the Antarctic late last year. A resolution to tighten the procedures was adopted by a majority.
Japan opposed the resolution, claiming it is beyond the boundaries of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling. Saying the resolution is not legally binding, Tokyo indicated it will continue its program in the Antarctic. Japan also plans to submit a new plan for scientific whaling in the northwestern Pacific.
Meanwhile, Japan made its own move at the IWC conference by proposing “dialogue” over the fundamental reasons of the bitter international division over whaling. The proposal was accepted.
The Japanese envoy apparently viewed the beginning of the dialogue as “a step forward” and the adoption of the resolution on scientific whaling as “a step backward” for the Japanese government.
It seems, however, that the backward step was bigger than the forward step. In other words, Japan appears to have lost more than it gained.
Two years ago, the International Court of Justice ordered a halt to Japan’s scientific whaling program in the Antarctic, concluding that the hunts as they were carried out could not be seen as being undertaken for purposes of scientific research.
But Japan resumed whaling after making changes to the program, which it said were in line with the ruling, including a reduction in the number of whales it harvests.
The IWC plenary session held half a year after the ICJ’s decision adopted a resolution requiring that scientific whaling be based on discussions at the plenary sessions.
Since the world whaling regulatory body holds plenary sessions biennially, Japan was expected to wait for this year’s session before making any major move related to scientific whaling. But it revived the program before the event.
The latest resolution is a response by the anti-whaling camp to Japan’s action and aimed at imposing further restrictions on its scientific whaling.
The situation signals a vicious cycle in which Japan continues taking strong actions according to its whaling policy, further antagonizing anti-whaling nations.
The Japanese government is eagerly advocating “dialogue” over the fundamental reasons behind the long-running dispute between the two sides. But the outlook of this proposal remains murky.
The IWC has been the main arena for confrontation between the pro- and anti-whaling camps since the body adopted a moratorium on commercial whaling in 1982.
It has long been clear that the dispute is between two fundamentally different positions on whaling. One side regards whales as food resources, while the other sees them as wild animals that need to be protected.
Demand for whale meat in Japan has declined sharply over time. But the government spends several billions of yen annually on subsidies to keep the scientific whaling program alive.
The question that the government should ask itself is whether it can serve Japan’s national interests by sticking to its apparently "dead-end" policy.
It is clearly time for the government to change its obstinate adherence to its whaling strategy.
It should respond to the anti-whaling voices of the international community while making efforts to win international support for the kind of small-scale coastal whaling that has been a tradition at certain places in Japan including Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture.