|16-06-2006, 11:38 AM||#1|
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Whaling meeting set for key shift
The annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission begins on Friday on the Caribbean island of St Kitts.
The indications are that for the first time in 20 years nations which favour whaling may have a majority.
The expected shift comes after years of lobbying by Japan to get developing nations to join the IWC.
Environmental groups accuse these countries of voting with Japan in return for aid, a charge which the Japanese deny.
The basic argument is the same as it has been for years.
The self-styled pro-conservation countries led by Australia, New Zealand and the UK, believe whales are intrinsically special animals and should never be killed.
In the opposition corner is a bloc led by Japan, which sees things differently.
Japan's deputy commissioner to the IWC, Joji Morishita, says the organisation has become too concerned with conservation.
Speaking on BBC Five Live Breakfast he said many Japanese people felt the IWC was "arrogant" and that whales could be used on a sustainable basis.
This meant "science and probably international law" were on the side of the Japanese, he said.
"Many of the Japanese citizens thinks that westerners, (the) outside world, is imposing their own value code on Japan on an emotional basis, and naturally they think they're bullies or... arrogant."
He added: "Allowing sustainable use of abundant species while protecting the depleted... we don't see the problem with that. It's exactly the same as conservation and management of any other wildlife or fishery resources."
But if the argument is familiar, the balance of power this year looks very different.
Four countries have just joined, of which three look set to support Japan giving it a majority on paper.
That could mean a number of important changes to the IWC.
Japan has hinted it may remove programmes aimed at conservation and whale welfare and move towards overturning the 20-year moratorium on commercial whaling, although a vote for resumption of commercial hunting at this meeting itself is highly unlikely.
Not every member nation turns up to these meetings, and the actual balance of power will not be known until two key votes scheduled for the opening day.
To try to erode Japan's support, environmental groups have been campaigning in some of the small developing nations which traditionally support Japan.
A survey commissioned by WWF suggested there was a majority opinion against whaling in all 10 of the Caribbean and Pacific states in which they polled.
WWF is urging delegates from those nations to cast their votes accordingly.
"The fat lady has sung and the world's Vida has been well and truly Viva-ed." - R#42 14th March 2010
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|16-06-2006, 11:45 AM||#2|
mr coldplaying himself
Will our very own whale, Mr John Prescott, be in attendance?
The early bird catches the worm. The second mouse gets the cheese!