I don't think the word genocide is too strong or misapplied when referring to the Japanese government's desire to slaughter whales. Way beyond barbaric, the continued destruction of majestic creatures that were hunted to near extinction 50 years ago borders on irrational spite.
In June of this year after failing to secure a small commercial catch of minke whales for four coastal communities with a history and culture of whaling at the 59th International Whaling Commission meeting, Japan threatened to leave the IWC, start another commission, and target Humpback whales in retaliation. Humpbacks are an endangered species.
To well staged fanfare, and images of smiling children and senior citizens, the 239 man mission departed for the whales feeding waters. Four factory ships, lead by the infamous Nisshin Maru, set off from the southern port of Shimonoseki on November 18, 2007 with plans to kill more than 900 minke whales as well as endangered fin whales and the aforementioned humpbacks. Earlier this year the 8,000-metric ton Nisshin Maru was crippled by a fire in the Antarctic while whaling in March. The whale hunt will run until mid-April and encompass the South Pacific and Antarctic ocean.
The Japanese fleet is directed by the government-subsidized Institute for Cetacean Research, an the institute which has produced no research of any regard, and all whales "studied" are also butchered for the purpose of selling whale meat to the Japanese public. Major portions of the annual whale harvest are used in the production of dog food.
Japan is planning to kill 50 Humpback whales a year in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary under its JARPA-II research program. Japan says its whale hunt is for scientific, not commercial, reasons. Nobody actually believes them. Targeting highly endangered whales in a whale sanctuary is a violation of a global moratorium on commercial whaling.
A June 2006 opinion poll carried out by the Nippon Research Center, found that more than two-thirds of Japanese do not support whaling on the high seas and 95 per cent of Japanese people never or rarely eat whale meat. New Zealand, Australia, Great Britain, and the United States, among many other nations, have condemned the Japanese whale hunt. But words are words, without aggressive action of anti-whaling forces, Japan will continuing slaughtering whales although.
Since world governments can't stop Japan's genocide against marine mammals (whales and dolphins in particular) the only ethical thing for anti-whaling advocates to do is boycott all Japanese goods and services. If the Japanese government is unwilling to stop slaughtering whales than they must be engaged, without mercy, on the economic front. If ever there was a time to impose trade sanctions and diplomatic costs on a rouge nation, this is it.
As of this writing I am encouraging everyone I know , and come in contact with, to reject anything made in Japan until the Japanese cease butchering endangered species under cover of scientific inquiry. I also suggest caring individuals contribute to front line efforts in the war against whaling.
The Sea Shepard Conservation Society launched Operation Migaloo to raise funds and awareness to battle the ethically challenged Japanese government on the open sea. To make a donation and/or offer support go to their website: www.seashepherd.org.
Future generations [of humans, and whales] will thank you.