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29 June 2005

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Associated Press
Originally published June 26, 2005

Whaling Commission rejects
Japan's proposal
on commercial hunting

However, point man is praised for efforts

ULSAN, South Korea -- Japan won few battles at this year's International Whaling Commission meeting. Most of its proposals aimed at eroding a moratorium on commercial whale hunts were voted down.

Yet even opponents concede the country's chief negotiator at the forum, which ended Friday, is a skilled and eloquent advocate.

Joji Morishita has become the face of Japan's determination to pursue a practice much of the world condemns: killing whales to eat their meat.

The soft-spoken director for international negotiations at the Fisheries Agency has gone before the commission to tirelessly and calmly express Japan's rationale for hunting, studying and consuming the mammals.

"Whaling itself has been sort of a symbol for Japanese identity," Morishita told The Associated Press on the sidelines of the five-day meeting of the 66-member group that regulates global whaling.

"It might be a small activity now, but it used to be at the center of the heart of Japanese," he said.

The commission banned commercial hunts in 1986 because species were near extinction after centuries of whaling.

Norway holds the world's only commercial whaling season in defiance of the ban, which is not legally binding, while Japan kills whales for what it describes as scientific research, selling the meat.

Japan, Norway and other nations this year are expected to take more than 1,550 whales.

Japan announced at the meeting that it plans to double the number of minke whales it kills each year in the Antarctic to up to 935. Critics say the program is commercial whaling in disguise.

Fueling those claims, a fast food chain in Japan began serving whale burgers Thursday.

Morishita, 47, maintains his composure in the face of vehement criticism.

Morishita is a graduate of Japan's elite Kyoto University and studied at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.

Though Morishita defends the right of Japanese to consume whale meat as part of their culture and traditions, he acknowledges he hasn't had any himself in months.

- 30 -

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Copyright © 2005 The Baltimore Sun


The Sunday Mail (Australia)
Sunday 26 June 2005

Whaling activists
to battle Japanese


A RADICAL American green group that claims to have sunk nine whaling boats is headed for Australia to take on the Japanese whaling fleet this year.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society confirmed yesterday it was making last-minute preparations for the trip.

Global condemnation is growing against Japan's plans to ramp up whaling in Australia's Southern Ocean.

But Sea Shepherd leader Paul Watson said it would pull out all stops to end the planned cull.

"They are going after an endangered species and violating the international moratorium," Mr Watson said from Florida yesterday.

The group, branded "eco-terrorists" by pro-whalers, was banned from attending last week's crucial International Whaling Commission meetings in Ulsan, South Korea.

Japan is set to defy the IWC and go ahead with plans to double the cull of minke whales and add humpback and fin whales to a so-called scientific research program.

The move will lead to the slaughtering of 800 minke whales and 80 humpback and fin whales in 2006-07.

Scientists and conservationists fear the world's only white humpback whale -- Migaloo -- will fall victim to Japan's harpoons.

- 30 -


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