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Barrett808 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 11:51 AM
Original message
Australia gathers proof on Japan's whaling bribes
Source: The Age

Australia gathers proof on Japan's whaling bribes
Chris Hammer, Honiara, Solomon Islands, and Andrew Darby Hobart
March 9, 2008

THE Australian Government has gained fresh ammunition in its battle to stop "scientific" whaling, exposing Japanese vote-buying at the International Whaling Commission.

One of the whaler's key Pacific supporters, the Solomon Islands, has frankly admitted to Australia that Japanese interests normally finance its trips to the whaling commission, which is finely balanced between pro and anti-whaling groups.

"Usually Japan pays for our attendance," Prime Minister Derek Sikua said. But he said the Solomons had declined to attend a special closed meeting on the future of the IWC that wound up in London last night.

"This time we have refused their assistance, so we haven't gone because we can't afford it," Mr Sikua said. He was unable to say how much the support of the Solomons had cost the Japanese in previous years.

Read more:
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 02:06 PM
Response to Original message
1. Good for Australia. Hope they don't back down, keep going on this investigation.
People have been wondering what on earth persuaded countries to back the Japanese on these IWC votes, for crying out loud. Hope they get the whole story, and soon.

Glad Prime Minister Derek Sikua delivered the truth when approached. That can't have been easy.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 03:41 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Ignorance is bliss, I suppose
Here is a short paper from 2000 on the IWC by a US member of it's scientific committee. Note the paragraphs in bold.

The International Whaling Commission : A Case of Malignant Neglect

By William Aron

William Aron, Director, Alaska Fisheries Science Center (Ret.),
Affiliate Professor, University of Washington,
presented this paper at a conference held in Corvalis, Oregon
hosted by the International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade,
July 10-14, 2000.


The International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling was signed in Washington, D.C. on December 2, 1946. The initial 14 signatories were all whaling nations. Thirteen of the original members remain, but except for aboriginal harvests, none whale. With the addition of Guinea recently, current membership in the Convention is 41 nations. Almost none of these are whaling, in fact most are opposed to whaling with varied degrees of vigor.

The Convention preamble has all of the words that would please a modern conservationist- and let us be clear at the outset, I use the term conservation to mean the rational use of living resources. The Convention preamble recognizes:

The need to safeguard whale stocks for future generations That the history of whaling has been marked by overfishing. That proper regulation will permit whale stocks to increase and permit fishing without their endangerment That it is in the common interests to achieve optimum population levels of whale stocks without causing widespread economic and nutritional distress and That to achieve the above objectives whaling should be restricted to those species best able to sustain exploitation, to allow the recovery of depleted species. To accomplish the above objectives the signatories decided to conclude a convention for the proper conservation of whale stocks to make possible the orderly development of the whaling industry.

This paper examines how the International Whaling Commission(IWC), which was established by the Convention has operated during its fifty year history. It will look first at some of the Convention provisions that are critical to our understanding and then turn to the evolution of science and the interaction of the IWC with its Scientific Committee

Key Convention Provisions

Integral to the Convention is the Schedule, which serves as the regulatory and operational guide, fixing protected and unprotected species,, seasons, open and closed waters, including sanctuaries, size limits, methods and intensity of fishing, including quotas, gear specifications, methods of measurement and statistical and biological records.

The prime business of the annual meetings of IWC has been to amend the Schedule for the following whaling season. It is important to note that Schedule changes require a three-fourths majority vote. The Convention itself cannot be amended.

Even if an amendment to the Schedule is passed by the three-fourths majority, a member may file an objection within 90 days, and exempt itself from compliance.

The Convention allows any Contracting Government to permit its nationals to take whales for scientific purposes, the number of whales to be taken is determined by the Contracting Government. The Contracting Government also determines how whales taken under a scientific permit are processed and the distribution of the resulting proceeds. The Contracting Government is charged, in so far is practicable, with transmitting the scientific data to the IWC. The Contracting Governments are also charged with taking all practicable measure to provide scientific information from commercial whaling operations.

In the event a three-fourths majority is not reached regarding a Schedule change, the previous year's quota remains in effect.

Of critical importance during the first part of IWC's existence (until 1972) was the use in the Schedule of the Blue Whale Unit (BWU) as the prime management tool. Whale quotas were not set by species or by stock units, but by the oil equivalency of a blue whale. One BWU was equal to 6 sei (or Bryde's - the Bryde's was not treated as a separate species until the 70s), 2 fin or 2.5 humpbacks. This allowed the IWC to control the availability of whale oil- which many believe was the prime reason for IWC's existence ( a clear hint of the future OPEC), as well as allowing whalers to conveniently shift target species if shortages of a particular species occurred in their operating area.

The IWC does not establish national quotas, these must be negotiated separately by the nations that engaged in commercial whaling.

Each member nation has the same voting power, a vote from Oman or Monaco counts as much as a vote from the United States or Japan

IWC Through the Eyes of a Scientist

Just how has the IWC succeeded in its stated purpose of proper conservation of whales and the orderly development of the whaling industry? Simply stated- it hasn't. While my perspective is largely that of a biological scientist, the evolutionary see-saw that transformed IWC from a whaler's club that paid little heed to conserving whale populations to a protectionist organization that largely ignores people dependent on whaling while forcefully saving the whale, should be self evident to all. Just how did this all happen?

The IWC Scientific Committee is a servant to the Commission. During the first twenty years of the SC, there was a strong sense that the SC would only be listened to if their quota recommendations met the industries needs. During my first SC meeting in 1972 I was directly confronted by a more experienced member of the Committee who chastised me for urging a low quota on a whale stock. He had no problem with my estimates, but he was critical for my lack of realism- I was told that if the SC went forward with my views the Commission would ignore us and then select of quota of their choice. The strategy in the SC was to seek the lowest possible quota that the industry could live with, despite the fact that by the early seventies it was blatantly clear to everyone that most of the great whales were in trouble.

The situation was even worse during the first decade of the Commission. About a dozen scientists participated in the early SC meetings, mean attendance was about seven. The members, including Dr. Remington Kellogg, the Director of the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History, were naturalists, systematicists and physiologists- none were from the rapidly evolving fields of population dynamics or enumeration. Even they, as very good observers, could tell the fin whale was in trouble. The fin whale catch
had risen from about 17000 animals during the 50-51 season to nearly 26000 in 54-55. The SC, in their meeting report details how they wished to reduce the catch to no more than 19000 in 55-56, but recommended that no more than 25000 should be taken because a cut "of this magnitude would scarcely be acceptable". The U.S. joined other members in supporting the high quotas, perhaps because the whalers had sufficient votes to block a low quota- thus the previous years even higher quota would remain in effect.

During this early period the SC regularly expressed their concern for whale stocks. The BWU quota was not being reached, and more importantly the whalers were forced to shift their takes to less valuable species to try to reach their catch limits.

Facing a clear crisis, the IWC assembled a group of outside experts to provide a new perspective. Three outstanding population scientists, K.Radway Allen, Douglas Chapman and Sidney Holt- the Committee of Three-later supplemented by John Gulland to become the Committee of Four, were called together to provide analysis and advice. The Committee began its work in 1961, issued an interim report in about a year and their final report on time for the 1963 meeting of the Commission. The Report strongly recommended elimination of the use of the BWU and very severe cuts in a number of quotas. The report was only partially accepted. Use of the BWU continued for 10 more years, more than 14,000 fin whales were taken, instead of the less than 7000 recommended, but the take of blue and humpback whales was stopped (they were truly scarce).

A sense of what happened during these early years is shown in the viewgraphs- which if you could read them will demonstrate the shift of take from one whale species to another as they were each harvested to commercial insignificance.

The willingness of the whaling industry to over harvest appears to be less a case of foolish optimism, a disease which is widespread among fishermen of nearly all nations, and more likely a function of the economic truths detailed by Colin W. Clark. In 1981 Clark's paper, "Economic aspects of renewable resource exploitation as applied to marine mammals(FAO Fish Ser., 5, Vol.3) indicated that the slow growth of marine mammals was in direct conflict with profits. Operational and capital costs were sufficiently high to make harvest rates that were biologically safe economically unsound.

This was a period when hardly anyone outside of the whalers cared or thought about whales. A few humane groups protested the cruelty of whale killing, but the conservation community was largely silent and the environmental community as we know it today did not really exist.

The 1970s saw a rebirth of environmental concern. There was created, in a very short period, air, water quality, endangered species and marine mammal protection laws .New organizations were created, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Council on Environmental Quality and the Marine Mammal Commission to implement the new legislation.

The tragedy of the whale issue was seized upon as a unifying force by U.S. groups ranging from the traditional wildlife conservation organizations to the more extreme protectionists, as a symbol of what was wrong about man's use of natural resources.

At the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm in 1972, the U.S. pressed for a 10-year moratorium on commercial whaling . The U.S. proposal was passed by a 53-0 vote with 3 abstentions. The moratorium was designed to provide a pause in commercial whaling to both allow the development of a conservative whaling regime and to allow some time for the recovery of depleted stocks to assure their availability to man. A few months later, despite the fact that most IWC nations had supported the moratorium in Stockholm, it failed to win the three fourths majority required. at the annual IWC meeting in London.

The IWC-SC, which by this time had expanded its membership substantially to include a solid array of quantitative scientists, could not support a blanket moratorium in view of the health of a number of whales stocks, especially the minke whale which was virtually unharvested. It was clear, however, that the status quo was not viable and that public protests which expanded well beyond the U.S. were having an impact on whaling nations, mainly through threatened and real boycotts, especially of Japanese products.

A compromise was reached when in 1974 a proposal called the New Management Procedure, was introduced by Australia. This was a biologically conservative approach that limited whaling to those stocks that were above population levels that produced 90% of the MSY, with the harvest to be limited so the long term safety and sustainablity was assured. The NMP went into effect during the 1975-76 whaling season, and for a short period the SC was allowed to play a key role in the IWC decision making process

The see-saw was now level - but not resting.

The whale had become a true poster child- a wonderful animal perceived by the general public as uniquely intelligent, care giving, remarkably communicative, but most of all, cruelly threatened by merciless whalers with imminent extinction. Sadly, these beliefs were wildly exaggerated.

The protection community, now with a solid understanding of the IWC operation, effectively used the public perception of whales to generate a strategy to stop whaling. With the help of the U.S. Government and others pressures were brought on new nations- with no interest in whaling- to join IWC as anti whalers. By 1981 the IWC swelled to 33 members and easily achieved a three fourths majority in support of a moratorium on commercial whaling in 1982( which went into effect during the 1985-86 season). The argument used to support the ban was based on genuine defects of the NMP- mainly in the difficulty in getting data essential for implementation. It should be noted, however, in my own discussions with SC members at the time, the view was expressed that the NMP could still be used without creating a threat to any of the whale stocks.

The ban was instituted to allow the SC to generate a new approach that would be conservative and which would be capable of implementation. The SC finished its work on the Revised Management Plan (RMP)in 1993 and unanimously passed it on to the Commission. Acceptance of this plan would be a first step in the resumption of commercial whaling, a step not willingly taken by many Commissioners. The Commission failed to act prompting the Chair of the SC to resign because he could no longer justify himself, "being the organizer of and the spokesman for a Committee which is held in such disregard by the body to which it is responsible"

The RMP would form the basis for an implementation plan- the Revised Management Scheme (RMS) which has not been implemented.. This failure to move ahead has been severely criticized from within and from without, by outgoing IWC Secretary, Ray Gambell, by the well respected International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). and most recently by the leadership of the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES). Perhaps, because of these pressure, it appears that some progress may have been achieved at the just concluded meetings in Adelaide, Australia.

Organizations have been formed, for example, The World Council of Whalers, that could replace the dysfunctional IWC, unless the situation changes .Change may prove impossible in the face of the strong anti-whaling public positions taken by many IWC members, especially Australia. Being an anti-whaler, especially for most U.S. politicians, allows donning the green coat without negative constituent impacts. The people who may be hurt are out of sight and their pain seems to carry little weight. Having established environmental credentials by pleading the case for whales you can avoid getting into serious environmental issues, like population control and global warming, that may challenge the jobs and lifestyles of your supporters.

In the meantime whaling operations continue throughout the world, by aboriginal people in the Atlantic, the Carribean, many places in the Pacific, including a tribal hunt just to our north, as well as the bowhead hunt described by fellow panelists.. Legal commercial hunting also goes on, mainly in Norway with hunts underway in Japan for scientific purposes. Many of these takes are addressed under the IWC banner, but many are by non-member nations. Most whale stocks have large migrations and are true trans boundary species, their effective management is an international concern. The current vacuum is untenable.
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LeftyMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 03:57 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. So the objection is that not all the IWC member countries are pro-whaling?
That's like complaining that not all the signatories of the Kyoto protocol are oil producers. Just as everybody has an interest in a healthier planet, we all have an interest in effective species conservation.

The science does not support the idea of a sustainable whaling industry. The data are much clearer now than they were in the 80's, now we have DNA evidence that the pre-whaling populations are much higher than the estimates based on old whaling records, so the population decline is much worse than anybody knew then.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 04:07 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. That's a strange reading of the paper
The OP is about Japan "bribing" countries to vote with them. I told you before that this strategy was originated not by Japan, but by the US. I decided to document that since it isn't commonly known. Instead of acknowledging the truth, you produced that response. Did you read the entire paper?
What do you think of it?

"With the help of the U.S. Government and others pressures were brought on new nations- with no interest in whaling- to join IWC as anti whalers. By 1981 the IWC swelled to 33 members and easily achieved a three fourths majority in support of a moratorium on commercial whaling in 1982( which went into effect during the 1985-86 season)."
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LeftyMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 04:54 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. What pressures? Again the assertion seems to be that only pro-whaling countries have a legitimate
interest, otherwise they have "no interest in whaling."

In the meantime, Japan is documented as bribing countries to join (and paying their membership fees) that don't even have a saltwater coastline.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 06:45 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Are you really that partisan?
Edited on Sat Mar-08-08 06:46 PM by kristopher
This is a pretty authoritative source. I found the paper by goggling "history membership IWC"

Explore my assertion for yourself, since you seem inclined to disregard what I've offered. While you're at it, here is the beginning of a paper by a Japanese scholar that addresses the why of Japanese whaling. Personally, when you are seeking to convince someone to alter their behavior, I think there is nothing more important than understanding why they are engaging in that behavior.

Note that Ms. Hirata identifies 2 major factors behind the continuation of Japanese whaling. Here is the one I'm promarily concerned with: "the domestic legitimacy (or salience) of the norm".

What this means is that the Japanese, as a people, simply don't accept our values on this subject as legitimate. Well, I think I know how to present to them an argument that will convince them to accept our values as legitimate. I think that would be more productive than throwing stink bombs and trying to intimidate them. If someone wants YOU to accept their beliefs as legitimate - not share them mind you, just accept themas legitimate - do you think the tactics you seem to endorse would convince you? Or would it harden your resolve to reject anything associated with them on the topic?

PS You can do a google scholar search on the title of the article and download a pdf.

An edited version of this paper has been accepted for publication in the Journal of
International Wildlife and Policy

Keiko Hirata*
Research Fellow, Center for the Study of Democracy, University of California, Irvine,
California, USA.

Japan is one of the few states in the world that adamantly supports whaling. For decades,
Tokyo has steadfastly maintained its right to whale and has aggressively lobbied the
International Whaling Commission (IWC) for a resumption of commercial whaling.
Japans pro-whaling stance has invited strong international criticism from both
environmental groups and Western governments, many of which view Tokyo as
obstructing international efforts to protect whales.
Why has Japan adhered to a pro-whaling policy that has brought the country
international condemnation? Its defiant pro-whaling stance is not consistent with its
internationally cooperative position on other environmental matters. For the past decade,
Tokyo has been a key player in international environmental regimes, such as those to
combat ozone depletion and global warming.1 If Japan is serious about environmental
protection and desires to play a role as a green contributor,2 why hasnt it embraced the
anti-whaling norm, 3 thereby joining other states in wildlife protection and assuming a
larger role in global environmental leadership?

It is natural to assume that such norm non-compliance would be based on
materialism, that is an attempt to maximize material self-interest. For example, domestic
business groups in Japan often work closely with the state bureaucracy to shape policy in
line with their interests.4 However, in this case, the business-centered explanation fails.
The Japanese whaling industry, which employs only a few hundred people and generates
at best marginal profits, is too small and weak to influence government policy.5

Instead, it is necessary to pay attention to the broader domestic political processes
in which international norm (non-)compliance takes place. Scholars have pointed out
that two national-level factors seem to condition the effects of international norms on
domestic political processes: the domestic legitimacy (or salience) of the norm and the
structural context in which domestic policy debate takes place.6 This paper argues that
the intersection of these factors explains Japans rejection of the anti-whaling norm.
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Number9Dream Donating Member (574 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 05:26 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Mr. Aron doesn't back up these statements with facts.
He doesn't present any proof that the U.S. govt did what he claimed. These are Mr. Aron's opinions presented to a fishing trade org. He told them what they wanted to hear.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 06:51 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. It is obvious you won't believe me either
So research it for yourself. He provides plenty of information on which to base your search.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 10:46 PM
Response to Original message
9. Padding the IWC - references
Footnoted on page 4 of WHY JAPAN SUPPORTS WHALING (Keiko Hirata)

DAVID DAY, THE WHALE WAR (1987), at 97; M. J. Peterson, Whalers, Cetologists,
Environmentalists, and the International Management of Whaling, 46 INTL ORG. 147-
186 (1992). Environmental NGOs reportedly contributed to the expansion of the IWC
membership by footing the membership fees and writing the required membership
documents for small, poor non-whaling states to become members of the IWC, so that
anti-whaling states would grow to outnumber whaling states within the organization.

See Leslie Spencer, The Not So Peaceful World of Greenpeace, FORBES 174-181, November
11, 1991; Friedheim, supra note 3;

Steinar Andresen,
The Making and Implementation of Whaling Policies: Does Participation Make a Difference?,
PRACTICE 431-474
(David G. Victor et al. eds. 1998).
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