What are the reasons why the Japanese, known for their shrewdness, spend huge sums of money to kill whales?
World Chinese Weekly columnist: Cowboy Monkey
Just a few days ago, at the New Year's auction of the most famous Tokyo Tsukiji aquatic market in Japan, a 405-kilogram bluefin tuna was sold at 36.45 million yen (about 2.09 million yuan) Co-5156 yuan.
Sushi boss proud face, the long knife in his hand to this "fish king." Soon it became a plate of sushi and sashimi, thrown into the belly of those who await early adopters.
Bluefin tuna is a staple of sushi and sashimi, a staple of Japanese cuisine, which has gone beyond culinary pursuits. "Japan on the tip of the tongue" has made certain varieties of bluefin tuna species "critically endangered" even smaller than giant pandas.
The bluefin tuna encounter appears to be another tragedy of "Dolphin Bay" staged in Japan. Behind the bluefin tuna, there are numerous connections between the behavior of killing whales and dolphins in the name of "preserving traditions and scientific research."
Many people have seen a very uncomfortable documentary - "Dolphin Bay." The Oscar-winning documentary shows the bloody scenes of dolphin killings in Taiwanese town. Numerous dolphins were brutally murdered, the bitter cry of the hunt mother dolphin to protect the pups, and the entire bay, dyed in red with blood, were simply heartbreaking.
"Dolphin Bay" stills, because hunting dolphins was bloody red sea water
Of course, there's news of "killing whales" that are staged regularly every year. At the end of last year, the Japanese whaling fleet disregarded the condemnation of many countries and proceeded to the area off Antarctica. They planned to kill 333 minke whales in 4 months. Japanese fisheries department said whaling is to study the physiological habits of whales.
If you kill the bluefin tuna to eat, but also to understand, but the Japanese perennial "scientific research" in the name of killing a large number of whales and dolphins, but not for food, which is a little bizarre.
What is the purpose of their doing so?
My average annual consumption of 30 grams of whale meat,
But billions to support whaling
All along, the Japanese government, despite the opposition of the international community and animal protection organizations, regularly goes to sea every year to kill whales and dolphins. Even from 2016, it supports billions of yen in subsidies for whaling. According to Chinese thinking, killing so many whales and dolphins each year in Japan is definitely the main purpose of food consumption, but the fact is not the case.
In 2006, Asahi Shimbun made statistics that only 4% of Japanese nationals regularly eat whale meat, 9% eat very occasionally, and 53% eat nothing, and 33% It is never ready to eat. A survey in 2016 also shows that per capita consumption of whale meat per capita in Japan is only 30 grams per year, and it takes only a large mouthful to eat.
The average Japanese consumes only 30g of whale meat per year (2016)
Moreover, whale meat with tuna, salmon compared to these, it really can not be called delicious. In the very few whale meat restaurants in Japan, most of the diners are uncles who are in their fifties and sixties, and their visit is often directed at "nostalgia," because only their aged people As a child, you often eat whale meat.
Japanese are very "nostalgic". On November 7 last year, the Japanese government owned cetacean whale research institute held its first event to promote the use of whale meat to the public. Japan has always claimed that its advanced and skilled whaling technology needs to be preserved. People can not forget to eat whale meat by eating only foreign beef.
Large-scale and organized whaling records in Japan were first reported at the end of Muromachi Era (1336-1573), when whaling was mainly for whale oil, used to make kerosene and rice paddy pesticides.
In the beginning, as long as the fishermen had the greatest whale fat, the fish was thrown into the sea directly. However, as Japan started the war of aggression against foreign countries, the grain was tight and the whale meat began to be recovered as armament supplies. At that time, the Japanese occupied the DPRK region, built a lot of whale production plant, for the troops continue to deliver food.
After World War II, Japan suffered a serious shortage of food, whale meat onto the Japanese table, became the main supply of meat. Kojiro Koizumi, a professor at Tokyo Agricultural University, wrote in his book Whale Saving the Nation that whales made up 46% of animal protein in 1947 in Japan, and from 1957 to 1962 when whaling reached its peak, The actual dependency of Japanese nationals on whale meat reached 70%. Until later, Japan's economy soared, whale meat slowly fades out.
Although less whale meat was consumed, domestic polls in Japan showed that more than 90% of whales are still supported. In many places in order to continue the whale meat culture, but also engage in some nostalgic whale food festival. Some large whaling companies also work with local schools to invite students to watch whale anatomy and to instill the next generation with the glorious history of Japanese food traditions and the whaling industry.
Pupils observe learning whale anatomy
"Investigation whaling" for more than 30 years, in order to vote more votes
In Tadiocho, Wakayama Prefecture, where dolphins are slaughtered in Dolphin Bay, fishers are still whaling sea-going whales each year despite their strong condemnation by the international community and environmental groups. Why do Japanese people who no longer eat whales persist in whaling activities? Is it really like what they say, for scientific research?
More than 30 years after the commercial ban on whaling was banned in the 1986 "Global Convention for the Prevention of Whaling," Japan has been "scientific research" in the name of the continuation of the Antarctic whale off the coast of Japan and even traveled, but so far can access the few papers available.
International "Guardian of the Sea" aerial photography Japanese whaling slaughter whale photos
In fact, hundreds of years since commercial whaling began in Japan, as whaling teams became larger and larger, they gradually got in touch with local businessmen and governments, and the group began to pursue its own interests. The color of commercial whaling To heavier. The whaling industry has slowly developed into a large state-owned industry comparable to Japan's copper-making and iron-making industries.
Today there are about 100,000 Japanese engaged in the whaling industry, fishermen engaged in whaling for generations to come, food processing, catering, and other scientific researchers, which has led to the formation of a Japanese whaling industry Great industrial chain. Among them, the dark pass on the transfer of benefits is an open "secret."
Now Japan's annual investigation of whaling has long been the interest of Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and its subordinate department, Fisheries Agency. The Japan Whale Research Institute, commissioned for whaling, receives an annual subsidy from the Fisheries Agency, which is also considered as a shelter for officials of the Fisheries Agency after retirement. Judging from the personnel of the institution in the past five years, a number of members are former officials of the Department of Aquatic Products with an annual income of tens of millions of Japanese yen.
In addition, "Kyodo Co., Ltd." entrusted with the sales of whale meat, 97% of the shares are owned by five consortiums under the control of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and many of the members originally served in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
Of course, besides the interests, there are the most important things for politicians. Today's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, the important voters base is from engaged in agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry and fishery, whaling industry involves the livelihood of about 100,000 Japanese. If casually because of international pressure to move the livelihoods of this part of the fishermen, but this will be reflected on the ballot papers.
During the election period, LDP propaganda pictorials everywhere in Japan's agricultural fields were displayed
Whales robbed human food, especially the Japanese favorite tuna
In addition to domestic interests, Japan's whaling was also considered by themselves to be "whaling food" in order to compete for marine resources. Speaking at the IWC (IwC) meeting in 2001, Japanese Fisheries Agency official Morita Jizo, explaining why he opposed the Antarctic minke whale management policy, said: "This is a detrimental management of the blue ocean bluefin tuna." According to them Logic, whales eat other fish, the less whales, the more other fish.
Almost all bluefin tuna consumers in Japan are in Japan. However, due to slow growth and overfishing, the population of bluefin tuna, known as the world's viable breeding stock, has diminished in recent years. In the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, Pacific bluefin tuna is "vulnerable," Atlantic bluefin tuna is "endangered" and southern bluefin tuna is "critically endangered."
In 2007, an independent review report of the International Atlantic Tuna Conservation Commission said that during the year Japan imported 32,000 tons of bluefin tuna, compared with 29,500 tons of bluefin tuna caught in the Atlantic at that time. Some studies suggest that as many as 80% to 90% of the Atlantic bluefin tuna in the Atlantic bluefin tuna was finally served on Japanese tables.
Of course, Japan believes that one of the most direct reasons is that whales will rob the human fish resources. Their rationale is that saury, squid, and particularly bluefin tuna, are the predators of whales, which consume between 300 and 500 million tonnes of fish, three to six times the world's population and fishery consumption. If not to kill the whales, according to this trend continues, whales may rob the human food, undermining the ecological balance.
This scene exposed the inextricable ties between Japan's whaling industry and other marine resources controls. As an island nation that relies heavily on marine resources, whaling does seem to the Japanese to include the concept that humans and whales "compete" for fishing resources.
Spend four months each year to Antarctica,
In addition to "investigation of whaling" any plans?
In addition to fighting for the resources of fisheries, "keeping traditional culture" and the temptation of domestic real benefits, what can Japan do by relying on the whaling industry?
Feng Wei, an expert on Japanese issues at Fudan University, told CCTV that Japan conducted whaling in the name of scientific research and carried out various surveys on the entire marine geology, marine climate, hydrography and so on. This kind of survey is of crucial importance to Japan in case of emergency.
As an island nation, Japan has always had a sense of crisis in getting used to rainy day. Not to mention Japan's large cold storage there is also a large number of whale reserves, they are also not yet digested each year up to four months of Antarctic "investigation of whaling" activities, whaling vessels with all walks of life Experts, people have to suspect that the Japanese are in fact the name of under the guise of whaling, but in fact line investigation of marine resources, research the situation of marine fisheries, exploration of resources available Antarctica reality. This kind of behavior like trying to sell dog meat, like World War II "South Manchuria Railway Company", the Japanese government in the world but no less dry.
Photograph shot on January 7, 2006 Photograph shows a whaling scene of whaling whales in the South Pacific Ocean
Perhaps for these reasons, the "scientific whaling" project was in deficit even after 2005, and the Japanese government did not hesitate to take huge amounts of taxes to fill it up. According to rough statistics, in the 10 years after 2005, the Japanese treasury provided about 8 billion yen in taxes to the "Japan Institute of Cetaceans."
To Japanese who are famous for their shrewdness, spending so much money only to study the physiological habits of whales, whether you believe it or not, I do not believe anyway.
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