Corruption in Repealing the Whaling Ban

A provocative little article ran this weekend in the Sunday Times, with the even more provocative title of ‘Flights, girls and cash buy Japan whaling votes.’ Reporters posing as English lobbyists tried to bribe some of the small nations that make up Japan’s voting block on the International Whaling Commission (IWC). They would have succeeded if they’d actually had the millions of dollars to spend.

If there is one thing that the documentary The Cove makes clear, it is that the whaling ban needs to be extended to cover dolphins. Tens of thousands of dolphins have been slaughtered in Taiji, Japan, and the film’s courageous exposure of how this happens will break your heart.

It is horrifying to find out that instead of voting to expand the ban, the International Whaling Commission will be voting next week on whether or not to appeal it. Phrased innocuously as the institution of quotas, some believe it could be the first step to open up whaling on a larger scale. The quotas would include two endangered species.

While the Cove contains some evidence of Japan’s efforts to control a block of votes on the commission, the Sunday Times lays it all out in excruciating detail. Six different countries evinced interest in the undercover reporters’ offer of twenty-five million dollars in aid over ten years to change their vote. The offer from Japan? Tickets to IWC meetings, along with hotel, car and living expenses while there. The offer of university educations. Japan is building, or has built in these countries, a very large number of ice plants to store fish, factories to process fish, markets to sell fish. And of course, they always show people a good time when they visit Japan. That’s when the girls come in.

To read the article, click here. To learn more about the issue or connect to organizations currently campaigning on it, click here.

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