Japan Ramps Up Efforts to Bring Back Commercial Whaling

Japan has adopted a new law that (1) guarantees huge state subsidies for its otherwise nonviable whaling industry, (2) seeks to raise demand for whale meat, and (3) establishes penalties against foreign protesters. With uncharacteristic bluntness about their political strategy, officials confirm that Japan will use its ongoing “scientific whaling” program, which kills hundreds of whales each year in the Antarctic and North Pacific, to convince the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to bring about the swift resumption of commercial whaling, after a 30-year pause. At a press conference to introduce the new law in early July, Fisheries Agency Director Shigeki Takaya even went as far as to warn that, having recently assumed the chairmanship of the IWC, Japan expects the new chair to prompt further debate on a resumption of commercial whaling.