Maybe we are seeing the first creaks in the normally staid and poker-faced Japanese negotiating position. I say 'negotiating' position, but what I normally mean is that Japan usually says 'maybe' to every proposal that is put to it on whaling, or actually its answers are usually liberally spread with 'no', as much as 'maybe. However, the two words often mean the same thing.
So its interesting to see Reuters reporting that Japan may be contemplating scaling back its so-called ‘scientific whaling’ in order to keep the mushy-minded IWC members at the table. It’s a fig leaf of an offer that seeks to stop the US from replacing their redundant strategy of ‘compromise’ with an industrial whaling machine that has no intention of giving up its rights to unlimited numbers of whales.
A few months ago someone mentioned this strategy might be played out by Japan if it thought that it could not string-out the whaling compromise to a point where it would achieve commercial whaling on its terms and no one else’s.
It was predicted that Japan would offer up a five-year package of reducing its quotas in Antarctica to sucker more of the IWC members into a rush compromise deal that Japan could then slowly unpick, without actually giving up any real ground.
I am waiting for Japan to say that its first reduction is ‘not hunting humpbacks’; a species that it is threatening to hunt, but one, which it knows many nations would trade their souls for.
I never really got that by the way. I think Humpbacks are as remarkable as minkes, and I think humpbacks are incredible animals. We simply know more about the friendly humpbacks than we do about the minkes, and that’s after two decades of the Japanese, Norwegians and Icelanders, between them, ‘studying them’ to death.
So maybe Japan is spooked enough to have to make this card play. But don’t be deceived this is a deception, and the Japanese whalers are good at that game as WDCS’s new report on Japanese whaling shows. It’s been one lie after anther as they try to bludgeon the world into accepting their views. Cultural and economic imperialism run rampant as they try to buy and fabricate there way to all out victory.
There is a war on whaling, but its not being fought on the high seas, its being fought in the tactics and strategies of governments as they maneuver to see who will have the right to decide the fate of the world’s whales - a few greedy and subsidized industries, or the world itself. Maybe the current economic crisis should have taught us – it’s a multilateral approach that needs to win out.
Japan, Norway and Iceland’s whaling industries and the few men behind their governments pulling the strings cannot be allowed to win. So remember, when the Japanese whalers say 'maybe' -watch out for the 'no' that is not far behind, but be careful what you have handed over for that hidden 'no'
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