Japanese Taxpayers Bailing Out Whalers

Japan has begun injecting new tax-payer-funded subsidies into its whaling program in a bid to keep the fleet afloat, the ABC has learned.

It is believed the “profitable fisheries program” is helping to keep the so-called scientific research program’s ongoing debts at bay and to help refit the whaling fleet’s flagship.

With the Japanese fleet now entering Antarctic waters, the annual whale wars are again expected to flare any day.

Militant Sea Shepherd activists have been able to all but scupper the fleet’s catch over the past few years.

This, plus lower demand for whale meat, means the government has been forced to prop up the whaling program.

Some of the money has come from funds set aside for the rebuilding of communities shattered by the 2011 tsunami.

Read the rest of the story: Taxpayers bailing out Japanese whalers.

Sea Shepherd leader pursued by Japan, skips bail in Germany

Japan asked Germany to arrest Paul Watson, the founder of environmental group the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, days before he skipped bail and apparently fled the country.

The Japanese embassy in Berlin confirmed in a statement to The Associated Press on Thursday that it submitted its request to German authorities July 19.Three days later Watson — who was out on €250,000 $320,000 bail in Germany pending a separate extradition request from Costa Rica — last reported to authorities.

Read the rest of the story: Sea Shepherd leader pursued by Japan, skips bail in Germany.

Japan Cancelled Annual Whale Hunt

Conservationists were cautiously celebrating today after Japan announced it was suspending its annual whale hunt, claiming its fleet’s safety had been compromised by antiwhaling activists in the Antarctic.It isn’t clear if the order to stop whaling amounts to the beginning of the end of Japan’s annual mission to the freezing waters of the Southern Ocean. But it is the strongest sign yet that international criticism, direct action, and weak consumption of whale meat at home are having an impact.The official line, supported almost without dissent in the Japanese media, is that the actions of the whaling fleet’s nemesis, the Sea Shepherd marine conservation group, have put the crew’s safety at risk.

Speaking to reporters in Tokyo, fisheries agency official Tatsuya Nakaoku said the fleet’s mother ship, the Nisshin Maru, had been "harassed" by the Sea Shepherd vessel the Bob Barker.The Japanese ship is now reported to be 2,000 nautical miles east of the hunting zone and heading towards Chilean waters in the Antarctic Ocean.Sea Shepherd, meanwhile, says this winter’s campaign has been its best yet. The fleet is thought to have caught only a small number of whales – between 30 and 100 by one estimate – since it arrived in the whaling grounds at the end of December.

Read the rest of the story: Is Sea Shepherds harassment helping to end Japan’s annual whale hunt?.

Activists and Whalers Clash in Southern Ocean

Militant anti-whalers Saturday said they had clashed with Japanese harpoonists in the Southern Ocean, chasing them through ice packs, throwing stink bombs at them and being hit with water cannon.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s vessels have been seeking to disrupt the Japanese whalers on their annual hunt in Antarctic waters since mid-December but had not been able to sight the Japanese fleet until Friday.

The society’s president, Paul Watson, said that now they had made contact with the whalers, they would attempt to prevent any of the giant sea creatures from being slaughtered.

"It’s got its water cannons turned onto us right now so we’re manoeuvring through ice and trying to outmanoeuvre them so it’s a little dicey," Watson told ABC Radio.

Locky MacLean, the captain of the Sea Shepherd’s ‘Gojira’ vessel, said the society’s three boats had been "dancing dangerously through the ice packs locked in confrontation with the three harpoon ships".

"It was both deadly and beautiful," he said in a statement on the society’s website. "Deadly because of the ice and the hostility of the whalers and beautiful because of the ice, and the fact that these three killer ships are not killing whales while clashing with us."

Read the rest of the story: Activists clash with Japan whalers in Southern Ocean.

Whale Wars – Sea Shepherd deliberately sank protest boat to gain sympathy

Anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd deliberately sank its own high-tech protest boat to gain sympathy after a January collision with a Japanese whaling ship, the former skipper of the boat said Thursday in a public spat with the conservation group’s founder.New Zealand anti-whaling activist Peter Bethune said the protest boat Ady Gil was salvageable after the collision, but he was ordered by Sea Shepherd head Paul Watson to scuttle it."Paul Watson was my admiral," he said on New Zealand radio. "He gave me an order and I carried it out."Sea Shepherd denied Watson issued such an order, and said it had been unable to tow the boat and stop it from sinking.

Read the rest of the story:Sea Shepherd deliberately sank protest boat to gain sympathy: ex-member.


Japan gives anti-whaling activists suspended sentences

A Japanese court has given two Greenpeace anti-whaling activists one-year suspended jail sentences for stealing a box of whale meat in 2008.

They admit taking the box but say they were trying to expose corrupt practices in Japan’s whaling programme, which the country insists is purely scientific.

Commercial whaling is banned worldwide.

Greenpeace says the sentences were "wholly disproportionate" as the defendants had acted "in the public interest and not for personal gain".

via Japan gives anti-whaling activists suspended sentences.

The cove of modern life

You are traveling Japan. Loving old temples and castles. You are also a big fan of Japanese food. You smell the yummy food from every corner of every street. At a restaurant, you happen to have chicken sukiyaki with your Japanese friends. It smells good and you can’t wait to try it. And you notice something different. Something is wrong with the chicken. Bite sized chicken floating in the amazing sukiyaki broth seem to have gross parts. You poke them with chopsticks and wonder. Is this a mistake? Did they not remove those skin part and fatty part in the kitchen? You look around. Your Japanese friends seem to be eating happily, They are looking at you expecting you to have a bite. Pressure. You are not sure what to do with this unfamiliar “unneeded” parts attached to the chicken meat!

Restaurants in the States, even ones run by Asian people tend to shed all the “unneeded” parts. It is for American customers. Unfortunately, with only the white meat parts, the dish is never full flavored. Actually thanks to those “unneeded” parts, great broth comes out to deepen the taste. They give just the right amount of grease into the sauce without any artificial adding to fake it. Most importantly, you can appreciate the full potentials of the chicken that died for you. Yes, chicken cubes used to be a living chicken.

A movie, “The Cove” had the hardest time to be shown at all in Japan. It appeared in public one night at Tokyo International Film Festival. However, after that, theaters postponed indefinitely because of numbers of protests. “The Cove” became the most controversial movie in recent years while it was more than just accepted in America. Many people in Hollywood felt anger and sorrow for poor dolphins. This documentary film moved enough people, it won Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Against such a heated movement in Hollywood, many Japanese people seem to be upset. Hollywood usually appreciates Japan. Sushi, Toyota Prius, Ninja, Samurai or Otaku culture these days entertain so many people here. But no, America didn’t like the idea of killing and eating dolphins.

Whales and dolphins used to be a bigger food source for Japanese people. Whales fed many people for cheap because of their size. Meat and internal organs are for cooking. Fatty parts are for oil, soap, margarine or candles. Bones are for cooking, art, umbrellas, and needless to say, a bow for a violin. All parts were appreciated and used. Interestingly, Japan has a strong association with whale hunting, but it used to be common among Native Americans of various locations, some parts in Europe and even in Hawaii. An accepted entertainment among general Westerners? Whale/dolphin watching. Though watching doesn’t kill them directly, yet constant human eyes surely stress them, some believe.

Not only Japan, but also some places outside of Hollywood criticize “The Cove”. Some say it’s a propaganda film, others say America is overreacting to the realization of variety of food cultures in the world. In American culture, where no common traditions root among so-called Americans, the origin of food culture may be ignored more than other places on Earth.

Old tradition in a culture versus new world standard. Is the life of an animal heavier when it’s smarter than the other? “The Cove” remains with ultimate questions. Meat certainly comes from a living creature, that is the truth. What we take for granted in modern life is to have appreciation to the lives that gave up for you.

Nonetheless, it is essential to realize there are cultures, history, traditions and reasons in food all over the world. Without them American people face the need the food culture is established by human convenience in America today.

About Jasmine Natsumi(pen name):

Born in 1982 in Japan. Came to America in 2003. Ever since, graduated, worked, and married. Currently live in Oregon.

Whale Wars – Peter Bethune Speaks Out for his cause

Peter Bethune final told his side of the story after being incarcerated in Japan. He had not so kind words for Japan and even less for his home country of New Zealand. He’s a man though that sees injustice for what he believes in and isn’t afraid of the politics. It’s something that human spirit will not fail to recognize or to hear when he speaks.

Read the rest of the story and watch the video: Anti-whaling activist slams Japan, NZ

Australian police have boarded and searched ‘Steve Irwin’ at the request of Japanese authorities

Australian police searched two anti-whaling ships at the request of Japanese authorities on Saturday, seizing log books and videos, after activists called a halt to their turbulent harassment campaign. Police boarded the Sea Shepherd group’s Steve Irwin and Bob Barker ships as they were greeted by well-wishers in Tasmania, but refused to reveal the reasons for the search warrant. “As a result of a formal referral from Japanese authorities, the Australian Federal Police can confirm it conducted a search warrant in boarding the Steve Irwin this morning,” a police spokesman said.

Rad the rest of the story: Australian police search anti-whaling ships for Japan

Shonan Maru 2 Crew Members Pepper Sprayed Themeselves and then Blamed Sea Shepherd Crew

“If Japanese Fisheries Minister Hirotaka Akamatsu has any sense of honor and dignity he will apologize for the lies that the Institute of Cetacean Research have made in accusing Sea Shepherd of injuring three Japanese whalers on February 11th,” said Paul Watson, the Captain of the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin.

Japan’s Fisheries Minister Hirotaka Akamatsu publicly condemned Sea Shepherd and told reporters on Friday, “I am full of rage. I could not believe they did such a thing.”

“Well, Mr. Alamatsu, we did not do such a thing, and we have the documentation to prove that the injuries suffered by the three crewmembers on the Shonan Maru 2 were self inflicted,” said Captain Watson.


The video taken by Sea Shepherd provides irrefutable evidence that the three Japanese crew members were overcome with pepper spray that they had sprayed into the wind in their attempt to fire the chemical irritant at Sea Shepherd crew in an inflatable boat.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has an unblemished record of never having caused a single injury and this video evidence absolves Sea Shepherd of any blame in this incident and will expose the fact that the Institute for Cetacean Research and the crew of the Shonan Maru 2 deliberately fabricated the story that they were injured by the rotten butter bombs tossed on the deck by Sea Shepherd crew.

Read the rest of the story: Captain Paul Watson Demands An Apology From Japan