Released from the shackles of the government pay packet it seems that Japan's most vocal advocates for whaling are able to speak their own mind. Tomohiko Taniguchi was the official voice of Japan for the last three years. The spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was tasked with the unenviable job of facing down the international media.
When challenged on the issue of whaling Taniguchi says. "I hated this issue because there's no point in Japan sticking to its position," he tells the Sydney Morning Herald. "The Japanese whaling industry generates revenues of 7.5 billion yen a year, which is $120 million at the current exchange rate. It's tiny." Japan's economy, the world' second biggest, has an annual output of 515 trillion yen or $8.2 trillion. So whaling accounts for 0.0014 per cent of the national economy. Or less than one-tenth the value of the country's annual market for toothbrushes.
And the total number of people who derive a living from whaling, including dependents, is between one and several thousands in a country of 130 million. "Japan has nil national interest in the whaling industry," Taniguchi continues. "The stake for Japan is near zero."
I for one shall buy a Japanese toothbrush if that's the price of ending whaling. Maybe that should be the next campaign we run. 'Toothbrushes not Whales'.
If you want to send a protest email to Japan's Prime Minister, then feel free to send a protest email. You may want to mention the toothbrushes