Sunday, 30 November 2014

Japan’s Whale Killing Ahab Says Protecting Whales is Racism

Commentary by Captain Paul Watson
Joji Morishita loves to kill whales.

Joji is Japan's commissioner to the International Whaling Commission.

He is in contempt of the Australian Federal Court. He has had his hands slapped by the International Court of Justice, (ICJ) he has been swatted down by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and humiliated by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

He has spent millions of dollars bribing small nations for their votes at the IWC, hiring lawyers to defend Japan’s bogus “scientific” program from Australia and to pursue law suits against Sea Shepherd USA.
But like Teruo Nakamura, Joji Morishita does not know when to quit.

Japanese Imperial Army private Teruo Nakamura was stationed on Morotai Island in Indonesia and surrendered in December 1974, 29 years after the official Japanese surrender.

Now in desperation Morishita has resorted to histrionic accusations of racism and “eco-imperialism” in his Ahab crazed obsession to kill more whales.

And Morishita’s hatred of whales has now been extended to elephants as he accuses both whale and elephant defenders of forcing their values onto other cultures.
Morishita intends to return to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary in 2015 to renew his quest for whale blood with a new plan, one he is convinced will allow Japan to continue to slaughter whales without further cricism. He has been forced to lower his kill expectations to 333 and has added all sorts of apparent “scientific” justifications.

Morishita boasts that the new proposal, which calls for taking 333 Minke whales and no Humpbacks or Fins will be Tokyo's response to continue what he calls “sustainable” whaling according to “scientific” principles.

"The whaling issue is seen as a symbol of a larger issue sometimes in Japan. You might have heard the word 'eco-imperialism', Morishita told a news conference.

"When you go out and ask ordinary Japanese about the whaling issue, they're going to say 'I don't eat whale meat, however I don't like the idea of beef-eating people or pork-eating people saying to Japanese, stop eating whales."

Morishita should do his homework because he will never find a gram of beef or pork on a Sea Shepherd ship, nor will he find chicken or fish. Additionally there are more pork and beef-eating people in Japan than in Australia or New Zealand.

He is clutching for straws with this new invented term called “food culture.”

And in saying this he is admitting that there is nothing scientific about Japan’s whaling operations if the reason for pursuing it is their “food culture.”

This so called scientific whaling began in 1987, the year after the commercial moratorium on whaling came into effect. Between 1950 and 1986, 900 whales were killed worldwide by all nations in the name of scientific research. Japan alone killed that many whales before 1990.

The world knows that Japanese scientific research whaling is a sham and Japan knows that the world knows this, but just like private Nakamura, Morishita refuses to accept that the Japanese whaling program finished. It survives as nothing more than a glorified welfare project for the bureaucrats like Morishita that run the Institute of Cetacean Research and the whalers who crew the whaling ships. He simply refuses to acknowledge that killing whales is no longer acceptable in the 21st Century.

His lethal obsession continues to exist because of subsidies including some $30 million dollars skimmed off the donations from around the world that were sent to Japan in the wake of the tsunami disaster of 2011.

Despite the fact that less than 5% of the Japanese people eat whale meat and Japan still has thousands of tons of unwanted whale meat in their warehouses, Morishita insists that most whale species are not endangered and that eating whale is a cherished part of its food culture.

“Those who oppose whaling are racists,” he maintains.

He also says that Japan's situation resonates with some developing nations, (the ones he bribes) insisting that while elephants are indeed in danger in some parts of Africa, nations where they are numerous face a similar dilemma when they want to pursue sustainable use.

"Now elephants are seen as a charismatic animal so just killing it is seen as wrong in many parts of the world," Morishita said. "Charismatic animals cover not just elephants but also whales.”

Morishita complained that critics of whaling have to drop their “zero tolerance” stance and recognize that different countries have “different codes.”

“What if (India) started promoting their habit (of not eating cows) on the rest of the world, and promoted an anti-McDonald’s, anti-beef steak movement throughout the world with economic sanctions. People can see the stupidity of this if you talk about beef, but what’s the difference between a cow and whales?”

From decrying racism to a blanket condemnation of Hindu practices as stupidity illustrates that Morishita’s responses are not very well thought out.

He is responding emotionally to arguments he criticizes as emotionally motivated.

Aside from the fact that millions of people do oppose the killing of cows, there are huge differences between killing whales and cows. First cows are domesticated and whales are wild. Secondly there are close to a billion cows in the world and they are hardly endangered or threatened with extinction whereas whale numbers are comparatively very small. Thirdly no slaughterhouse in the world would allow the prolonged stressful killing process whales must endure where it takes as long as 25 minutes to die in agonizing pain. Fourthly there is no beef industry in the world surviving solely on massive tax subsidies to produce a product that few people are eating. Fifthly whales are being killed in a whale sanctuary and this would be akin to killing cows in a farm sanctuary, And sixth and lastly, the beef industry has not been condemned by the International Court of Justice for pretending to kill cows for scientific research. This comparison of whales and cows is both juvenile and unrealistic.
Morishita takes his defense of whaling to the heights of absurdity when he compares the killing of whales to the rights of women in Japan to wear kimonos saying that objections to whaling, partly on the grounds that the hunts are unprofitable and bankrolled by Japanese taxpayers – could be compared to restrictions on the wearing of kimono.

“The average Japanese woman wears kimono perhaps two or three times in her lifetime,” he said. “Those ceremonial kimono cost millions of yen, so some might argue that they are a waste of money. But what if another country then said that only a small number of women could wear kimono?”
It is difficult to envision a world where other countries would ban Japanese women from wearing kimonos. In fact the only country that has banned Japanese cultural values has been Japan when they banned the samurai, their swords and their top-knots in the 19th Century. At the same time whaling has never been a cultural tradition of the nation of Japan. It was a practice in a few remote Japanese villages and by some members of the aboriginal Ainu. Whaling in Antarctica was a practice encouraged by the American General Douglas MacArthur in 1946.

The Japanese government has prohibited aboriginal Ainu whaling yet insists that massive factory ships, expensive harpoon vessels and explosive harpoons are a mainstay of Japanese culture.
Joji Morishita’s job is to kill whales. He is not advocating whaling because it is a traditional Japanese practice. He is doing it because he is paid to do it. He also seems to take great pleasure in killing whales.

I have spent my entire life since I was a child defending whales. It is not racism that motivates me. I am the father to a daughter who is half Chinese. I have studied Japanese history and I’ve studied Kendo. But more importantly I have opposed whaling by Russia, Australia, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, South Africa and by Makah Indians in America. When it comes to whaling I do not discriminate on who I oppose. I’m not interested in the ethnic DNA structure of the hand that throws the harpoon or pulls the trigger. It is the harpoon that I wish to silence forever.

It is in fact racist of Morishita to accuse whale defenders of racism for being motivated to protect and defend whales for ecological and ethical reasons. We have more of a right to defend the whales than he has a right to kill them. The science is on our side. The ethics are on our side. The economics are on our side. The empathy is on our side.

We save whales for the sake of the whales and for the interests of peoples unborn. We save whales because they are threatened with extinction and because they suffer horrific agony from the merciless harpoons of the mechanized whaling fleets. We save whales because we are ecologically aware people motivated by empathy and by conservation ethics.

Morishita kills whales for one reason – for profit.

Morishita is defending his job and his absurd comparisons of whaling to wearing kimonos illustrates just how desperate and pathetic his arguments are.

Photo: Joji Morishita reading a Japanese food culture menu

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