US, Japan aides reach no deal in whaling dispute

USA: July 11, 2001

WASHINGTON - U.S. and Japanese officials meeting here this week failed to reach an
agreement on ending a dispute over Japan's whaling practices, but the two sides will try again before the start of an International Whaling Commission meeting later this month, a Japanese Embassy official said.

Japan's Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tsutomu Takebe met with top Bush
administration trade and agriculture officials. Among items on their agenda was the whaling dispute, which has strained U.S.-Japan ties.

Last September, the Clinton administration suspended Japan's access to fishing rights in
U.S. waters after Japan expanded its whaling practices to include species protected by U.S. law. The Bush administration in recent months also has been critical of Japan.

"We agreed that we hold different views on whaling issues," said a Japanese Embassy official, following a day of meetings between Takebe and U.S. officials, including Commerce Secretary Don Evans, Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman and U.S. Trade
Representative Robert Zoellick.

But the embassy official added that U.S. and Japanese officials would try again to resolve
their dispute before an International Whaling Commission meeting in London later this month.

Japan maintains its whaling practices are being carried out for scientific research purposes. But groups opposing the whaling have argued that some of the whale meat ends up being used by Japan's restaurant industry.

With the two countries continuing to joust over whaling, some members of the U.S. Congress are calling on the Bush administration to put more pressure on Japan to end
its practices. Public opinion polls have indicated overwhelming U.S. sentiment against
Japanese and Norwegian whaling.

REUTERS NEWS SERVICE