While the rest of the world has gone along with a ban on commercial whaling - some nations more reluctantly than others - Japan continues to evade the issue by calling whale hunting "research."
The 42-member nations of the International Whaling Commission used intense pressure on Japan to force it to abandon whaling in 1987. Most other countries had stopped earlier. Whales are considered an endangered species that would become extinct if hunting continued.But in 1988, Japan harvested 273 whales as part of a research project to demonstrate that commercial hunting can be resumed. This year, the Japanese whaling fleet is expected to bring home 300 whales.
That seems excessive for "research," especially since the chewy red whale meat - a delicacy in Japan - is sold in expensive restaurants as a result of this so-called research.
Next year, the catch is expected to increase to 1,650 whales, "sufficient for scientists to make meaningful population studies," according to Japanese officials. The hypocrisy of that comment can be seen in the fact that in the last year of full-scale commercial fishing, Japanese whalers killed 1,941 of the giant creatures.
Angered by continued pressure from the Whaling Commission, Japan this week told the world to mind its own business. But it's time Japan realized that survival of the whales is the world's business.