Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lack of Money Talks

Is this really true? Stateside it is difficult to confirm.

Greenpeace reported on November 12th that the end of Japanese whaling in the Antarctica's Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary was near.

Apparently, the Hatoyama government's Government Revitalization Unit charged with cutting 3 trillion yen from Japan's national budget has recommended that the Overseas Fisheries Cooperation Fund (OFCF), which gives loans to the Institute for Cetacean Research (ICR) to run Japan's research whaling program, have nearly all of its funding revoked. This stroke of the pen effectively ends non-coastal whaling.

A truly simple solution to a difficult and emotional problem.

The Revitalization Unit is a temporary committee that meets for only 11 days: November 11-18 and November 24-27, to discuss specific projects and programs under consideration to be cut from the national budget--"hidden treasure". Citizens can attend the deliberations or watch them on the Internet. An interesting discussion of the politics surrounding the formation of the Unit can be found on GlobalTalk 21.

Nominally, the panel's decisions are not final as the Cabinet of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has the final say on year-end budget compilation. Recently, Mr. Hatoyama stated that he hated whale meat.

LATER: On November 19th, Japanese whaling ships for Antarctic waters on an annual five-month voyage in pursuit of about 1,000 minke whales and a small number of fin whales. Australia's Environment Minister Peter Garrett expressed his country’s disappointment: “As we continue discussions on reform of the International Whaling Commission, we are deeply disappointed that the Japanese Government has again embarked on its annual hunt to the Southern Ocean. "The Australian Government has said repeatedly that we do not have to kill whales to study them."

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