Japan threatens to expand its whaling

January 23, 2023

A recent Japanese newspaper article reveals Japan’s plans to expand its whaling activities. The article is focused on the new use of unmanned vending machines to sell processed and canned whale meat, noting that the whaling company Kyodo Senpaku Co. plans to open four unmanned stores in Tokyo and elsewhere by the middle of February, and about 100 in the next five years. The article also reports that the Japanese Fisheries Agency plans to expand the Japanese catch quota within the next two years.

The article, which is published in Japanese, also highlights two other developments. Firstly, that from February onwards, the company plans to import nearly 3,000 tons of fin whale meat annually from Iceland. The implications of this for the Icelandic whaling industry could be significant bearing in mind concerns about its economic viability. Secondly, the article suggests that Japan will expand its own national whaling activities to other large whale species.

Whilst the article overall paints a picture of the whaling industry in Japan being healthy and vigorous this is in keeping with other article published there where the pro-whaling side drives the narrative. OceanCare believes that the industry is actually in difficulties and these latest developments show some desperation. This is supported by a somewhat incongruous sentence in the article where a company representative is reported as expressing a growing sense of urgency and saying that «If domestic consumption does not improve, the traditional whaling industry will not survive and the unique food culture will be lost.»

Source: Yomiuri Newspaper