Should Japan be forced to stop whaling? | The Tylt

Should Japan be forced to stop whaling?

In early 2019, Japan announced it would withdraw from the moratorium on commercial whaling set by the International Whaling Commission in 1986.  Whaling is a long-standing tradition in countries like Japan, Norway, and Iceland, and proponents of Japan's decision point out the country will now limit hunting to its own waters. Meanwhile, some countries and environmental groups mourn Japan's decision, maintaining that whale species still need protection. What do you think?

FINAL RESULTS
Culture
Should Japan be forced to stop whaling?
A festive crown for the winner
#NoCommercialWhaling
#WhalingIsTradition
Dataviz
Real-time Voting
Should Japan be forced to stop whaling?
#NoCommercialWhaling
#WhalingIsTradition
#WhalingIsTradition

The international ban on commercial whaling hasn't stopped Japan from hunting whales. The country participates in hunting season annually, claiming that the whales are used for scientific research. By now openly defying the international ban on commercial whaling, Japan will at least limit its hunting to its own waters. According to The Guardian's Justin McCurry and Matthew Weaver: 

[The Japanese government’s chief spokesman, Yoshihide Suga] told reporters the country’s fleet would confine its hunts to Japanese territorial waters and exclusive economic zone, adding that its controversial annual expeditions to the Southern Ocean–a major source of diplomatic friction between Tokyo and Canberra–would end.

Plus, many people see the ban on commercial whaling as an implementation of Western values on an international level:

Japan argues that the moratorium was supposed to be a temporary measure and has accused a 'dysfunctional' [International Whaling Commission] of abandoning its original purpose–managing the sustainable use of global whale stocks.
#NoCommercialWhaling

Japan's decision comes as a disappointment to much of the international community. According to the New York Times's Daniel Victor, Australia's government is "extremely disappointed" with Japan's announcement. Victor reports:

Australia maintains a sanctuary for whales, dolphins and porpoises that includes parts of the Antarctic, and it has clashed with Japan over its annual hunts there.
'Australia remains resolutely opposed to all forms of commercial and so-called "scientific" whaling,' the ministers said. 'We will continue to work within the commission to uphold the global moratorium on commercial whaling.'

 U.K. environment secretary Michael Gove shares the sentiment, saying in a tweet: 

#WhalingIsTradition

Victor continues by pointing out that, for Japan, commercial whaling is more than an economic stimulus, it's a long-standing tradition. 

'In its long history, Japan has used whales not only as a source of protein but also for a variety of other purposes,' Mr. Suga said in a statement. 'Engagement in whaling has been supporting local communities, and thereby developed the life and culture of using whales.'

Although demand for whale meat has declined sharply in Japan, the country maintains publicly that the tradition lives on. The BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes reports that according to the Japanese government: 

...whaling is an ancient part of Japanese culture, that fishermen have caught whales for centuries, and that Japan will never allow foreigners to tell its people what they can and cannot eat.
One Japanese official once said to me: 'Japanese people never eat rabbits, but we don't tell British people that they shouldn't.' 
#NoCommercialWhaling

But given the Japanese population's declining interest in whale meat, many are wondering why the country is pushing so hard to maintain a tradition that is no longer lucrative. 

The BBC's Wingfield-Hayes discovered that it might not be–at least not for long. During a private conversation with a high-ranking member of the Japanese government, Wingfield-Hayes explained why he believed resuming commercial whaling was illogical, the official replied: 

'I agree with you,' he said. 'Antarctic whaling is not part of Japanese culture. It is terrible for our international image and there is no commercial demand for the meat. I think in another 10 years there will be no deep sea whaling in Japan.'
'There are some important political reasons why it is difficult to stop now.' he said. He would say no more.
But [Greenpeace worker, Junko Sakuma] thinks the answer lies in the fact that Japan's whaling is government-run, a large bureaucracy with research budgets, annual plans, promotions and pensions.

According to Sakuma, the pride of some government officials is more important to Japan than the survival of various whale species. 

FINAL RESULTS
Culture
Should Japan be forced to stop whaling?
A festive crown for the winner
#NoCommercialWhaling
#WhalingIsTradition