From The New York Times:
Most Japanese consumers have turned away from whale meat. The industry shipped just 5,000 tons in 2011, compared with 233,000 tons at the peak in 1962, according to data from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Demand this year is so low that the industry has cut its planned shipments by half, to 2,400 tons.
“Whaling is unprofitable, and survives only with substantial subsidies, something cultural and nationalist arguments for whaling obscure,” said Patrick Ramage, the director of the animal welfare fund’s whale program. He said the country would be better off economically and ecologically if it promoted whale-watching tourism instead of hunting whales.
To be fair, Japan is not the only country that subsidizes industries that harm animals.
The US government subsidizes factory farms. Says a Tufts University study:
For the hog industry, industrial operations’ feed costs were 26% lower than what farm families were paying to produce their own feed, which lowered total production costs for factory farms by 15%. The discount to large and industrial hog operations housing over 2,000 hogs each totaled almost $1 billion per year between 1997 and 2005. Savings to other industrial livestock sectors were significant as well: $733 million per year to industrial dairies; $501 million/year to industrial beef cattle; and $433 million/year to egg producers. Over the nine-year period, the estimated savings to these three sectors plus hogs and broilers was nearly $35 billion.