Following its withdrawal from the International Whaling Committee (IWC), Japan started having an active commercial whaling industry again starting in July, but only within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
The five whaling boats chugged out into the bumpy waters off of eastern Hokkaido, a tiny armada under gray skies and the gaze of the world.
While they are free to believe that “all whales” should be protected, perhaps what they are actually trying to protect is the fantasy of the symbolic wild animal. If they genuinely intend to protect “endangered species,” then the actions required to do so do not involve a ban on whaling. Science is meant to be utilized to solve real-life problems, not fantasies.
On the surface, the indigenous peoples of Alaska continue to engage in whaling activities without any problems. But in actuality, I believe they face many real problems. To date, Japan has continued to support indigenous whaling within the IWC.
The decision to withdraw from the IWC offers Japan a golden opportunity to awaken from its postwar illusions about international organizations. Undoubtedly, Japan will be bombarded with criticism by the anti-whaling countries and radical environmental groups.
I still remember the taste of hard-to-swallow fried whale meat served in Japanese school lunches. I have no nostalgia for it, but when I come across news that “Japan is doing it again” — committing supposed whale-hunting atrocities — the taste comes back.
In the great ocean, a lamafa (whale hunter) engages in battle with a whale to humbly and gratefully take its life. This intense scene was captured by Japanese photographer Bon Ishikawa,
The movie Behind ‘THE COVE’ presents the audience with facts about how the Japanese have lived alongside whales since the ancient times as well as the historical context of the whaling culture.
People from the US, the UK, and Australia—countries that are especially concerned about the whaling problem—have told me that the film was eye-opening.
Japanese film director Keiko Yagi got the award for Best Director at the 2018 London International Filmmaker Festival for her documentary film ‘Behind THE COVE.’ Ms Yagi produced the film in 2015 to counter The Cove, which received the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2010.