For Japan, the whaling industry is a money loser.
And, thanks in large part to the efforts of the Sea Shepherd Society, whaling is also a public relations nightmare.
Yesterday, according to the New York Times, Japan again defended its right to whale as it pleases. Not only is Japan in the process of putting an activist from the Sea Shepherd, Peter Bethune, on trial, it is now preparing to go to court with Australia. All over an industry that is losing the government millions of dollars.
So why doesn’t Japan just end this already?
I attended an animal rights conference in 2007 and Paul Watson, the founder of Sea Shepherd, was there. And I asked him this very question. I was, at the time, under the impression that Japan would stop any day. After all, if there’s no money in it, it was only logical that Japan would stop.
But Paul pointed out that if Japan were to stop whaling that they would then have to defend their dolphin hunts and their overfishing of bluefin tuna and so on.
For Japan, whaling may be a money loser but it’s a war they must fight to protect other industries — industries that are very profitable.
In other words, if Japan cedes on whaling, it fears that its entire fishing (overfishing) industry will be at stake.
I was wrong in 2007. Japan was not about to give up whaling then. Which is why I support the Sea Shepherd Society and the efforts of the Australian government. Japan is on the wrong side of history. I only wish they could come to this realization sooner than later.