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 user 2006-06-16 at 4:35:00 pm Views: 62
  • #15767

    Whaling summit setback for Japan
    has unexpectedly lost a key vote at a meeting of the International
    Whaling Commission (IWC) in the Caribbean island of St Kitts.The
    pro-whaling nation failed to remove an item from the agenda and prevent
    discussion on preserving sea mammals.Correspondents say for the moment
    at least the anti-whaling bloc appears to have retained the balance of
    power.Japan says it will consider leaving the IWC if it does not move
    back towards a resumption of commercial whaling.It lost the first vote
    of the five-day meeting by 32 votes to 30.Japan has spent years
    lobbying developing nations to join the IWC and wrest power from the
    majority anti-whaling bloc. Environmental groups accuse these countries
    of voting with Japan in return for aid, a charge which the Japanese
    The BBC’s environment correspondent, Richard Black, says
    environmental groups are delighted with the result of the vote.He says
    they believed a Japanese win on this motion would have had serious
    consequences for many species of small cetaceans.Not all of Japan’s
    traditional allies have turned up here and a couple voted unexpectedly
    with the pro-conservation nations, he says.But our correspondent adds
    other votes lie ahead and other countries expected to side with Japan
    may yet turn up.

    The basic argument is the same as it has been for years.
    self-styled pro-conservation countries led by Australia, New Zealand
    and the UK believe whales are intrinsically special animals and should
    never be killed.In the opposition corner is a bloc led by Japan, which
    sees things differently.Japan’s deputy commissioner to the IWC, Joji
    Morish*ta, says the organisation has become too concerned with
    conservation.Speaking on BBC Five Live Breakfast he said many Japanese
    people felt the IWC was “arrogant” and that whales could be used on a
    sustainable basis.This meant “science and probably international law”
    were on the side of the Japanese, he said.”Many of the Japanese
    citizens thinks that Westerners, [the] outside world, is imposing their
    own value code on Japan on an emotional basis, and naturally they think
    they’re bullies or… arrogant.”He added: “Allowing sustainable use of
    abundant species while protecting the depleted… we don’t see the
    problem with that. It’s exactly the same as conservation and management
    of any other wildlife or fishery resources.”But if the argument is
    familiar, the balance of power this year looks very different.

    Changes possible
    countries have just joined, of which three look set to support Japan
    giving it a majority on paper.That could mean a number of important
    changes to the IWC.Japan has hinted it may remove programmes aimed at
    conservation and whale welfare and move towards overturning the 20-year
    moratorium on commercial whaling, although a vote for resumption of
    commercial hunting at this meeting itself is highly unlikely.Not every
    member nation turns up to these meetings, and the actual balance of
    power will not be known until two key votes scheduled for the opening
    day.To try to erode Japan’s support, environmental groups have been
    campaigning in some of the small developing nations which traditionally
    support Japan.A survey commissioned by WWF suggested there was a
    majority opinion against whaling in all 10 of the Caribbean and Pacific
    states in which they polled.WWF is urging delegates from those nations
    to cast their votes accordingly