Japan: Tsunami aid used to fuel whale hunt
2.3bn yen ($29 million/ €22 million) in victims’ aid for the March 11 tsunami, which devastated communities on the northeastern coast of Japan, has been diverted to the country’s whaling industry.
This discovery has sparked outrage from environmentalist groups like Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd and could further damage Japan’s international reputation.
Junichi Sato, executive director for Greenpeace Japan, is quoted in the Independent:
Not only is the whaling industry unable to survive without large increases in government handouts, now it’s siphoning money away from the victims of the 11 March triple disaster, at a time when they need it most. This is a new low for the shameful whaling industry and the callous politicians who support it.
Whaling boats left southern Japan on another ‘scientific expedition’ on Tuesday, with the purpose of harpooning 930 minke whales.
The protesters say whale research does not require killing the animals, and Japan’s scientific program amounts to commercial whaling in disguise because surplus meat is sold. Whale meat, however, is not widely eaten in Japan.
In related news, Japan’s Institute for Cetacean Research have requested that a US court block the activities of Sea Shepherd activists.
Read more about that story from Reuters here.