The BBC is reporting that engineers at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant have suspended an operation to clean contaminated water hours after it began due to a rapid rise in radiation. The BBC reports that some ‘110,000 tonnes of water have built up during efforts to cool reactors hit by the 11 March earthquake and tsunami. The contaminated water, enough to fill 40 Olympic-sized swimming pools, has been at risk of spilling into the sea.’
Recent data indicates that radioactive contamination has entered the ocean food chain with both fish and cetaceans already contaminated to a greater or lesser degree.
So what does this mean for Japan? If we can look beyond the immediate catastrophe, we could ask what does the way that Japan has handled this tragedy mean for the whale and dolphin conservation debate?
Over the nineteen years that I have been at WDCS one of the major issues we have encountered is the failure of all but a few journalists of the Japanese press to question the position of their Government. All statements appear to be accepted as gospel, and all comments of those who question the Japanese pro-whaling stance are either deemed ‘erroneous’, or according to some, to be dismissed because they are the ramblings of ‘cultural imperialists’.
For years the Japanese public have appeared to accept the statements of the Japanese Government and civil servants with respect to the safety of their nuclear industry. That dogmatic acceptance of everything that the Government deemed worthy of sharing with the public has now come to a crashing halt.
The Japanese public have begun to question the output of their government and those who seek to control their thinking. Maybe the same will happen with the whaling industry. Maybe the Japanese public will begin to see through the propaganda that the Japanese Government churns out to support their subsidized whaling fleets and will begin to question why, at a time when the country is struggling to tackle the costs of the triple tragedies of 2011, it’s spending money on maintaining a dying industry and its team of allies at the IWC?
Just a quick thought, but listening to the radio this morning the UK's Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman when being questioned on new drought conditions and management arrangements in the UK stated that '...a proportion of the water we have has to be for nature'..
Yes farmers need water, households need water, but its nice that a senior minister is thinking about the wider world.