Japan's whaling program detailed above was presented for vote to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in South Korea, June 2005, and was rejected. Despite losing the vote, Japan is proceeding with its JARPA II program.
Japan is exploiting a loophole in the International Regulation of Whaling Convention which was never intended to allow a commercial slaughter.
Japan and Norway have slaughtered more than 25,000 whales under the "scientific whaling" loophole in the last 25 years.
Japan heavily promotes the consumption of whale meat - they have introduced whale meat to their school lunch programs and sell whale meat in markets and sushi restaurants. Although Japan claims their whaling activities are a "cultural tradition" the facts dispute this. To learn more, read Captain Watson's article, The Truth About ‘Traditional' Japanese Whaling.
Two vessels of the Japanese whaling fleet which kills whales in the name of "research"
May 2006, Reuters reports that in an effort to whet an appetite for whale meat among younger consumers, a new Japanese company is being formed to expand sales of whale meat to include school lunch programs and family-oriented restaurant chains. The new company (name not revealed) will start business in late June and hopes to sell 1,000 tons of whale meat over the next year. They will be highlighting the meat's high protein and low calories, and they intend to sell it on the Internet. The head of the Institute of Cetacean Research, which conducts Japan's whaling program, says, "We have to preserve this sort of traditional food culture among children," and he said that school lunch programs would be charged lower prices for whale meat to help make this happen.
In September of 2005, the Associated Press reported that a public junior high school in the northern port town of Kushiro is serving "whale curry." The meat is fom minke whales that the local whalers caught off the coast of Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido. The elementary school will soon be serving whale meat as well, and future dishes for these schools include "whale meat croquettes." These local whalers plan on killing 60 whales as a part of their "research program."
A Japanese hamburger chain sells whale-meat burgers. Lucky Pierrot, which operates fast-food restaurants mainly on the northernmost island of Hokkaido, said whale meat had emerged as one of the two most popular fillings in a customer survey, according to the newspaper Mainichi Shimbun.
The Prime Minister of Japan regularly meets with leaders of other nations to garner and/or retain support for whaling, some examples include:
May 15, 2007: The country of Laos commits to joining the IWC at Japan's urging
August 3, 2005: Mr. Ludwig Scotty, the President of the Republic of Nauru
July 11, 2005: Mr. Halldor Asgrimsson, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Iceland
July 11, 2005: Mr. Allan Kemakeza, the Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands
June 17, 2004: Mr. Enrique Bolanos Geyer, the President of the Republic of Nicaragua
By continuing to ignore the rulings of the IWC Scientific Committee, Japan is setting a precedent which other nations could follow.
The spotters and harpooners of the Japanese killing fleet. Not pictured: the Kaiko Maru
Nisshin Maru, the factory or mother vessel, of the Japanese whaling fleet
Kyoshin Maru No. 2
Yushin Maru No. 2
Kyo Maru No. 2
Sea Shepherd - Actions Defending the Whales Hunted by Japan
In December 2002 and January 2003, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ship Farley Mowat hunted for the Japanese fleet in Antarctica forcing them to change their hunting locations to avoid a confrontation with us. Although Sea Shepherd was unable to directly intervene against the whalers this time, Sea Shepherd is returning to confront the Japanese in December 2005 to January 2006.