Many years ago, when I first joined WDCS, I traveled to Japan to meet the proponents of whaling to try and understand what motivated Japanese people to continue this practice. What I found was surprising and rather awkward in some ways. I could not find any real public demand for whaling as a sense of national identity. Of course there were a small minority involved in whaling (for most of whom it was a part time activity), but this was a generation who were slowly giving way to the reality of a world that had moved on from such practices. So who is in favour of whaling then?
Actually there does not appear to be any one person leading the charge for a resumption of whaling - or continuation of whaling, to be truthful, as Japan has never honoured the moratorium. It appears that Japan has, as a vestige of the 1930's, a mixture of civil servants, industry and elected officials who all seem to have some interests in maintaining the whaling industry. And a media that, in the majority of cases, does not wish to hold its government accountable for this disastrous policy.
What was really scary was what appears to be a viscous cycle whereby civil servants from the Ministry of Fisheries helped keep whaling alive and then 'retired' into the very whaling and fisheries companies that they were supporting from their years as civil servants. And when pressed some of these civil servants would say that that the continued pursuit of whaling was a waste of Japanese effort, - but as long as someone kept pulling the strings to keep it alive, they would keep advocating for a legitimizing of their existing whaling, even if it was 'just' a coastal quota. For don't be fooled. Japan will do almost anything to get an endorsed form of legalized whaling, - and from that point onwards the world's oceans are their bank balance.
I was reminded of that trip because of a BBC article that I came across today. Chris Hogg reporting from Tokyo speaks to the point of splits between the various Ministries in Japan - with an embarrassed Foreign Ministry having to deal with the machinations of their colleagues in the Ministry of Fisheries. I leave you to make up your own mind, but read his article and see what you think