BBC 18.July 2001
Japan admits trading whale
Greenpeace protesters attack a Japanese whaling ship
Japan has acknowledged
publicly that it uses overseas aid to secure support for its
campaign to have the international ban on whaling lifted.
Fisheries ministry head Maseyuku Komatsu said Japan needed to use
diplomacy and overseas aid because it lacked other ways, such as
military might, to influence other
He told Australian television he saw nothing wrong in doing so.
Correspondents say a number of South Pacific and Caribbean
countries are thought to have accepted aid in return for backing
Japan's efforts to get commercial whaling restarted.
Six Caribbean countries voted with Japan last year on virtually
every motion at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting
in Adelaide, including rejecting an
Australian move to create a whale sanctuary in the South Pacific.
Mr Komatsu said: "Japan does not have military powers, unlike
the US or Australia. You
may dispatch your military power to East Timor.
"Japanese means are simply diplomatic communication and
overseas development aid
"So, in order to get appreciation of Japan's position, of
course, that is natural we must
resort to those two major tools. I think there is nothing wrong."
Later, an official from the fisheries ministry in Toyko denied
Japan bought support for its position.
The official said Japan gave aid to 150 countries and some of the
biggest recipients, including India and Argentina, were strongly
opposed to whaling.
Minke 'too numerous'
Mr Komatsu referred to minke whales, which Japan is allowed to
catch under a scientific
research programme, as "cockroaches of the oceans".
Asked what he meant, he said they were too numerous and quick.
New Zealand's Prime Minister Helen Clark said: "Japan must
surely be embarrassed by the revelation from one of its own senior
"When put alongside Japan's long-standing but spurious
assertions that it is taking
large numbers of whales for purely scientific and research
purposes, this confirmation of
Japan's tactics shows the desperate lengths it will go to maintain
"If Japan is indeed indulging in the sort of behaviour
alluded to by Mr Komatsu, it can only underline the bankruptcy of
its stance on whaling."
Dominica is one of the Caribbean countries that faces accusations
that it is sacrificing its
reputation as a guardian of wildlife in return for Japanese cash.
Dominica's Environment Minister, Atherton Martin, resigned last
year in protest against
what he saw as proof that his country had been bribed by Japan to
support it in an IWC
He told the BBC at the time: "They announced that if they
couldn't get Dominica to come
along with them, they would have to place Dominican projects under
"If that is not an extortion by the Japanese Government, I
don't know what is.
"They are saying, 'You either go with us or we pull the aid.'"
The IWC is about to meet again in London, UK.
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