Captain Paul Watson Responds to Japanese Senior Consul General Makoto Hinei

Commentary by Paul Watson (in bold text)
Founder and President of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

On July 10th, Japanese Senior Consul General Makoto Hinei had an editorial published in the Hawaiian Star Bulletin defending his nation's pirate whaling activities. Captain Watson comments on the editorial below.

Humane Whaling Aids Japanese Research

Makoto Hinei: With respect to the June 20 commentary "Japan keeps up slaughter in name of science," by syndicated columnist Bonnie Erbe, I would like to present the counter-arguments of the government of Japan. Japan's whaling program, which is sanctioned by the International Whaling Commission [IWC], is essential as it provides necessary scientific data helping to establish proper conservation of whales and other species. From every whale taken for research, Japan collects scientific information on more than 100 data points and annually reports the findings to the commission, where those efforts and scientific knowledge are highly commended.

Captain Paul Watson: The Japanese whaling program is not sanctioned by the IWC. This is a blatant distortion of the facts. Japan claims that their whaling has been given approval by the IWC. This is not the case. Japan is involved in commercial whaling activities in an international whale sanctuary - the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Commercial whaling has been banned by the IWC since 1986 and the Japanese attempt to overturn this ban at this year's meeting of the IWC in St. Kitts & Nevis failed.

Makoto Hinei: The byproducts of the research conducted are treated strictly in accordance with the obligation under Article 8 of the convention, which stipulates "any whale taken under special permits shall so far as practicable be processed." As for Erbe's analysis of the declining demand for whale meat among Japanese consumers, we are assured that the demand for meat substantially exists. On this point, I would like to emphasize that Japan's whaling is solely for research purposes, not for supply purposes, and therefore the market principle of supply and demand for the meat is not applicable here.

Captain Paul Watson: First, Makoto Hinei says that the whales are killed for research and in the same paragraph says that there is a substantial demand for whale meat from consumers. Japan had not produced a single international peer-reviewed research paper on whales during the last 20 years of their illegal whaling activities. The only research they have been doing is product development and marketing research.

Makoto Hinei: Moreover, the accusation of Japan purchasing votes on the IWC is totally groundless. To suggest that Japan is buying nations with foreign aid is not only a false allegation but also an insult to those countries referred to as bought at the IWC as well as to Japan. Japan is one of the world's top donor countries of official development assistance and provides aid to all countries regardless of their position on whaling.

Captain Paul Watson: I will be very undiplomatic here and state without hesitation that Japan has been buying votes. Togo showed up at the IWC meeting late this year with their membership fees in Japanese yen in a paper bag. Mongolia's delegation had their expenses paid by Japanese interests. The buying of votes in St. Lucia, St. Vincent, St. Kitts, Grenada, and Antigua is common knowledge among their citizens and media. Land-locked nations like Mongolia and Mali don't just show up at great expense to champion whaling because it is part of their tradition or a part of their economics. The Japanese takes the rest of the world for fools if they think we will buy this lie.

Makoto Hinei: Japan believes in conservation of whales that are on the brink of extinction, such as the blue whale. Minke whales have never been considered endangered and should be allowed to be hunted in a sustainable and humane manner.

Captain Paul Watson: Japan intends to kill humpbacks and fins this year, endangered whales on the CITES list of endangered species. The Antarctic Minke whale numbers are unknown and there is concern for their survival. There is no such thing as sustainable and humane whaling. Humanity would never allow the killing of a land animals in a manner similar to how whales are killed. It is not possible to humanely kill a whale.

The Star Bulletin takes letters at

The Japanese Consulate in Honolulu can be reached at 1742 Nuuanu Ave, Honolulu, 96817