coast guard braces for whaling
April 19, 2002
- The Japanese Coast Guard said yesterday it
was tightening security near the site of the annual
International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting that
starts next week in anticipation of protests.
The always controversial gathering, being held this year
the southwestern city of Shimonoseki, is likely to be
especially tense because of host-country Japan's staunch
special, temporary security headquarters had been set
up in the city of Kita-kyushu, which faces Shimonoseki
across the narrow Kanmon Straits, some 830 km (520
miles) southwest of Tokyo, a coast guard spokesman said.
area is a very busy shipping lane, and the tide is
treacherous. We hope to maintain security and safety
during the meeting, particularly given the chance of
protests," the spokesman said.
by boats and helicopters would be increased, he
said, but declined to give further details.
Japanese like to eat whale, which was an important source of
protein for an impoverished nation just after
World War Two but has become a pricey gourmet food since Japan
abandoned commercial whaling in 1986 in line with an IWC
has infuriated conservationists since 1987 by
continuing to hunt, saying it is carrying out research
whaling. Activists charge that much of the meat is
with fellow whaler Norway, Japan counters by
that some whales, such as the minkes, are in no danger
dying out and that hunting within limits should be
although agreeing that endangered species should be
intend to press for the resumption of commercial
whaling at the IWC meeting.
Environmental groups such as Greenpeace have often
carried out water-borne protests against international
meetings, and Greenpeace sent its flagship "Rainbow
Warrior" to the summit of Group of Eight leaders on the
Japanese island of Okinawa in 2000.
say protests at this year's IWC are likely to
The IWC gathering opens on April 25 with the meeting of
the Minke Assessment Group and continues through May
with meetings of the scientific committee and other
main annual meeting will take place from May 20 to