Japan slams officials over gifts of whale meat

The Japanese fisheries agency has warned officials not to accept whale meat as gifts from whalers, amid embezzlement allegations involving tax-funded whaling programmes, reports said Wednesday.

The five officials were reprimanded for accepting three to seven kilograms (6.6 to 15.4 pounds) of meat from a private fisheries firm that was contracted to conduct whaling, local media reported, citing agency sources.

The packages of whale meat were estimated to be worth 180 to 840 dollars, Jiji Press said, adding that one of the officials later returned the meat.

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The Hump Closed in Santa Monica after admitting sale of Whale Meat

A high-end sushi restaurant in Santa Monica, California, said on its website Friday that it is closing its doors after criminal charges were filed alleging it served illegal whale meat.

“After twelve years doing business…The Hump will be closing its doors effective March 20th, 2010,” the restaurant said in a statement on its website which was monitored in Tokyo.

While admitting and apologizing for its “illegal actions,” the restaurant said the closure is “a self-imposed punishment on top of the fine that will be meted out by the court.”

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