Posted by: bklunk | February 16, 2007

A Tragedy of the Commons

I tend to agree that Japan’s whaling should be restricted, but I would like to read whether others agree and why.

Japan and the International Whaling Commission « politics

The International Whaling Commission held a meeting regarding the hunting of whales. Many nations are anti-whaling, such as the United States, Britain, and Australia but they attended the meeting in order to change the policy of whaling. Japan, on the other hand, doesn’t want to prohibit commercial whaling, but to administer it. Japan kills hundred of whales every year, due to what they call “research”. They declare that they use the whales to study the whale feeding habits and breeding. They claim to use whales as scientific experiments, but many environmental groups feel that its just an excuse for whale hunting. After the experiments, the Japanese would use the whale meat as food. The Japanese explains that whale is an essential part of their food traditions. As a result to the Japanese killing many whales, the anti-whaling nations did not show up to the conference on Tuesday, and they are planning to boycott the Wednesday’s session.The Japanese has their own goals in mind, before coming to the conference. They didn’t want the IWC to ban whaling, because that’s a big part of their economy. Their goal is to reform some of the regulations that IWC has. They are using it for their advantage. “Opponents also accused Japan of buying support from other nations in the IWC with aid.” Japan is trying to stay ahead of the game by getting more nations on their side rather than going against them. If they do maintain support from other nations, their political power would grow. Japan shouldn’t be allowed to kill that many whales.

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  1. Good post. The IWC has had a. strage history. It began not as a international institution to preserve whale populations, but as a sort of “whaling club”. One important aspect of the early IWC was that they did not limit membership to whaling nations. As a result, the anti-whaling coalition (including the US) recruited non-whaling states to tip the balance. They succeded in passing a moratorium on whaling. One important point is that whaling does not constitute a significant economic economic interest for any nation. It is much more an issue of state sovereignty and respect for cultural traditions.

  2. I think what Japan is trying to do if very unfortunate. They are using the guise of scientific research to justify killing up to 965 whales. It seems counterintuitive to say they are using the animals to study breeding and feeding, and then in the end kill them. As the post above pointed out, no nation’s economy relies on whaling for it to make an impact. NO longer are whales used to make everyday items, such as oils, so to kill an animal of that magnitude because it is “culturally acceptable” seems so wasteful.

  3. Further, I think it is also very unfortunate that so many countries who belong to this organization, yet disapprove of whaling, boycotted the IWC meeting. If the voice for change doesn’t stand up and fight what Japan is trying to do, then Japan will be allowed to continue. To not say anything seems to give the impression the countries are giving in to what Japan wants.

  4. I agree this is a good post and an interesting topic.

    I would like to belive to a certain extent that Japan was/is killing whales as a part of their research. However the ammount of whales that they are killing seems overkill for such a study. According to, and article was written by Kelly Olsen from the Associated Press in 2005 saying that in the next year they were going to raise the number of whales they were killing from 440 to 935. Also, the article says that Japan claims it kills whales to study them under IWC commission rules, but really is commercial whaling in disguise. I tend to agree with this statement.

    I think that it is good that Japan claims it wants to study whales and their enviornment, and things like that, but taking such a large number of whales from our seas poses a problem for the oceanic life, as well as Japan getting away with doing something illegal, if in fact they are disguising the “research” for commercial whaling. Also with what Madeline from the above post mentioned, there is no economy, including Japan’s that relies so much on whaling. Therefore, that is not a plausible excuse for the Japanese.

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