why do the japanese kill whales and dolphins
Japan has a long history of whaling. Half a dozen towns can trace their whaling history back hundreds of years, to when whales were driven into nets, harpooned repeatedly and then dispatched with either a long sword or a wooden plug driven into the blowhole. Hand harpoons dating as far back as 10,000 B. C. indicate an even longer tradition of whaling in Japan. At the turn of the 20th century, Japanese coastal whaling received a boost with the introduction of steam ships and grenade-tipped harpoon guns. However, it wasn't until 1934 that Japan expanded its whaling to Antarctica. Whales helped keep Japanese citizens fed both during and after World War 2. In 1947 whale meat made up almost half of all animal protein consumed by the country. Nearly 20 years later, whales continued to make up nearly one-quarter of the Japanese diet. This history is an important part of why the Japanese continue to hunt whales. Attempts to stop the nation's whaling are perceived by many as a threat to Japanese culture. According to its defenders, eating whale meat is an old and impenetrable Japanese tradition. "No one has the right to criticize the food culture of another people," said Matayuki Komatsu of Japan's Fisheries Agency. A sense of pride also fuels Japan's commitment to whaling.
To some, the words and actions of those who oppose Japanese whaling are "culturally arrogant" and unnecessarily harsh. This only serves to strengthen the country's resolve to maintain its whaling, according to some. Minke whales, though not at historic levels, remain plentiful. A population of 761,000 exists in the Southern Ocean, according to Japan, though some claim the number is closer to 268,000. Regardless, they exist in enough numbers that a return to commercial whaling of this species can likely be supported, assuming strict management of stocks and reasonable annual catch limits. Japan says that its whaling research over the last two decades has paved the way for long-term, sustainable use of this "renewable marine food resource. " Why not hunt whales if they can be hunted sustainably? And if the principle of sustainable use is compromised on behalf of one animal, what's to stop a "domino effect" from happening that in time would limit Japan's use of other animal resources that it relies so heavily upon?
A Japanese whaling fleet returned to port on Friday after an annual Antarctic hunt that killed more than 300 of the mammals, as Tokyo pursues the programme in defiance of. The fleet set sail for the Southern Ocean in November, with plans to slaughter 333 minke whales, flouting a worldwide moratorium and opposition led by Australia and New Zealand.
The fleet consisted of five ships, three of which arrived on Friday morning at Shimonoseki port in western, the countryБs Fisheries Agency said. More than 200 people, including crew members and their families, gathered in the rain for a 30-minute ceremony in front of the Nisshin Maru, the fleetБs main ship, according to an official of the Shimonoseki city government. In a press release, the agency described the mission as Бresearch for the purpose of studying the ecological system in the Antarctic SeaБ. But environmentalists and the International Court of Justice (IJC) call that a fiction and say the real purpose is simply to hunt whales for their meat. Anticipating the fleetБs return, animal protection charity Humane Society International called for an end to Japanese whaling. БEach year that Japan persists with its discredited scientific whaling is another year where these wonderful animals are needlessly sacrificed,Б said Kitty Block, the groupБs executive vice-president. БIt is an obscene cruelty in the name of science that must end. Б Japan also ending in 2016 after a one-year hiatus prompted by an IJC ruling, which said the hunt was a commercial venture masquerading as science and ordered Tokyo to end it.
Under the International Commission (IWC), to which Japan is a signatory, there has been a moratorium on hunting whales since 1986. Tokyo exploits a loophole allowing whales to be killed for Бscientific researchБ and claims it is trying to prove the population is large enough to sustain a return to commercial hunting. But it also makes no secret of the fact that whale meat and is served in school lunches. Japan has hunted whales for centuries, and their meat was a key source of protein in the immediate post-second world war years, when the country was desperately poor. But consumption has dramatically declined in recent decades, with significant proportions of the population saying they БneverБ or БrarelyБ eat whale meat. In response to the ICJ ruling, JapanБs 2014-15 mission carried out only such as taking skin samples and doing headcounts. Past missions have been hampered by a. A fisheries agency official said that the whalers this time faced Бno obstructive behaviour threatening safety of the fleet and crew membersБ by the group. He attributed that partially to Japan dispatching patrol ships to protect the fleet.
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