japan tagged posts

Japanese firm selling whale meat from vending machines

A Japanese whaling company has sparked an angry response from animal rights campaigners after it started selling whale meat from vending machines in an effort to boost consumption. Kyodo Senpaku, whose vessels led Japan’s whaling fleet during its controversial expeditions to the Southern Ocean, opened its first kujira(whale meat) “stores” at two locations in Tokyo this month after a successful trial late last year.

The machines sell a variety of whale meat products, including canned items containing meat imported from Iceland, bacon, steaks and red meat that can be eaten raw as sashimi. Prices range from 1,000 (£6) to 3,000 yen.

Although whale meat was a staple source of protein in Japan during postwar food shortages, consumption declined after the 196os as pork, chicken and...

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Japan set to resume commercial whaling after 30 years

JAPAN will begin hunting whales for commercial purposes next month for the first time in more than 30 years after pulling out of the International Whaling Commission (IWC).

Five vessels will set off from six different whaling operators on July 1 in the first commercial whaling operation since 1986. Japan joined the global body for the conservation of whales in 1982, ceasing operations four years later. But the country had continued to hunt between 200 and 1,200 whales each year for scientific reasons, selling the meat on afterwards for consumer purposes. 

Eating whale is seen to be part of Japanese culture even though consumption has fallen dramatically since the 1960s. 

Pro-whaling nations expected the IWC to be a temporary measure until a sustainable catch quota was formed but ...

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100,000 whale-based school dinners

The carcass of a Baird's Beaked whale

Six-year-old Reto Aisaka was jumping up and down on the windswept dock. For five months, he’d been counting the days until his dad, Toru, returned from a whale hunt. The boy was up at dawn to meet him. Shimonoseki, on the westernmost tip of Japan’s main island of Honshu, celebrated the return of its small whaling fleet late last month.

The mother ship, Nisshin Maru, carried the meat from 333 Antarctic minke whales. But it was a celebration that masked deep uncertainty about the future of Japan’s whaling industry.

The whales were taken under the guise of research – a designation that has kept Japan’s whaling industry alive despite a three-decade moratorium on commercial whaling.

These were the last Japanese whalers to return from the rich waters of Antarctica’s Southern ...

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Japanese whale hunters kill 122 pregnant whales

Japanese whale hunters kill 122 pregnant minke whales

Japanese hunters caught and killed 122 pregnant minke whales as part of its Antarctic summer “field survey”. A report sent to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) reveals hunters caught 333 minkes in total. The team left Japan in November 2017 for the Southern Ocean and returned in March 2018.

Japan says its whaling programme is for scientific purposes, despite a 2014 UN ruling against its “lethal research” and widespread condemnation. In a new research plan published after the UN ruling, Japan said it was “scientifically imperative” to understand Antarctica’s ecosystem through collecting and analysing animals.

How many whales did Japan catch?
The country’s New Scientific Whale Research Program in the Antarctic Ocean (NEWREP-A) sent a report to the IWC detailing the 333 minkes cau...

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Only 1.4 Percent of Japan’s Largest Coral Reef Is Healthy

Japan's bleaching reefs

Reefs all over the planet are facing a very bleak future. Rapidly warming ocean and acidic water are killing them all over the planet. Bleaching event after bleaching event is ruining some of the most important of earth’s natural features. No, it’s not just the Australia or Hawaii, although those are probably the ones you’ve heard about. It’s many other reef systems, all of which are home to a massive variety of life. The most recent depressing reef news comes out of Japan, where studies have found that 99 percent of Japan’s largest reef is on the verge of collapse.

According to a government survey in Sekisei Lagoon in southwestern Japan, the reef, which measures 12 miles long by 10 miles wide, is basically dead...

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Japan accepts court ban on Antarctic whaling

Whaling fleet and protesters

The UN’s International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ruled that the Japanese government must halt its whaling programme in the Antarctic. It agreed with Australia, which brought the case in May 2010, that the programme was not for scientific research as claimed by Tokyo. Japan said it would abide by the decision but added it “regrets and is deeply disappointed by the decision”. Australia argued that the programme was commercial whaling in disguise. The court’s decision is considered legally binding. Japan had argued that the suit brought by Australia was an attempt to impose its cultural norms on Japan.

Science ‘myth’

Reading out the judgement on Monday, Presiding Judge Peter Tomka said the court had decided, by 12 votes to four, that Japan should withdraw all permits and licenses for wh...

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Japan’s national park home to humpbacks

Humpback Whale

Popular with whale watchers and divers, the Kerama Islands and surrounding waters in Okinawa Prefecture were designated a national park on March 5, the first such selection since Kushiro Marsh in Hokkaido in 1987. The designation of Japan’s 31st national park, straddling Zamami and Tokashiki villages, was announced in a government gazette.

The 30 islands and reefs of various sizes, lying 40 kilometers west of the prefectural capital, Naha, are well known as a breeding ground for whales. Many humpback whales migrate to the tropical waters near the Kerama Islands for mating between December and April every year.

The number of humpbacks confirmed in the waters rose from 26 in 1992 to 269 in 2012, thanks in part to efforts to protect the sea mammals by a whale watching association establish...

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