Japan's Whaling Problem
Tue Q. Tran
The seafaring nation of Japan has a long history of whaling, dating back
as far as the 8th century.
Although the nation has a history of whaling, most of the whaling
actually took place along a few minor coastal towns, thus whales never played
any major part in the traditional Japanese diet. However in the poverty-stricken
years following World War II, whale meat became a major part of the Japanese
diet owing to its cheap prices. Whale meat consumption peaked in 1962 and has
been declining since.
In 1986, the International Whaling Commission imposed a complete
moratorium on whaling practices around the world in an effort to preserve
declining whale populations, with exceptions made for aboriginal whaling and
scientific whaling. The very next year, Japan began its scientific whaling
program, JARPA (Japanese Whaling Research Program in Antarctic). The aim of
this project is to explore this issue from the perspective of the pro-whaling
parties as well as the opposition, and to examine the backlash from other
nations and citizen organizations.