As the Sea Shepherd tries gallantly to stop the Japanese whaling ships in the Southern Ocean as they do their annual massacre, it's interesting to think what the Japanese think of all this.
In early 2012, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)
commissioned the Japanese firm ESquare to look at oﬃcial government of Japan figures on that country's whaling industry, including whale meat sales and stockpiles, taxpayer subsidies paid to keep the whaling fleet afloat, and money spent onthat country’s vote in the International Whaling Commission (IWC). We also commissioned the NipponResearch Center to conduct polling on Japanese public attitudes towards whaling, taxpayer subsidies,and the consumption of whale meat.
Here's the very surprising facts :
Taxpayers Subsidise Money-Losing Industry
# The whaling fleet is heavily subsidised by taxpayer money funnelled through the Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR).
# Subsidies average around ¥782 million (US$9.78 million) annually.*
# Despite these subsidies, the Institute of Cetacean Research continues to operate at a loss. Whaling simply is not commercially viable.
Demand for Whale Meat Falls While Stockpiles Grow
# Whale meat consumption in Japan peaked in the 1960s and has steadily decreased thereafter so that today
whale meat consumption is approximately 1 percent of its peak.
# Current stockpiles of unsold whale meat have increased to nearly 5,000 tonnes and are more than four
times greater today than they were 15 years ago.
# Between 2011 and 2012, the whaling industry attempted to boost income and reduce stockpiles by holding
a series of whale meat auctions. ese auctions were total failures, and three-quarters of the meat went unsold.
Earthquake Relief Funds and Additional Subsidies Diverted
# Over the past 25 years, direct whaling subsidies from the Ministry of Agriculture alone have cost Japanese taxpayers more than ¥30 billion (almost US$400 million).
# While other needs went unmet, earthquake reconstruction funds to the tune of ¥2.28 billion (US$28.55 million) were diverted from tsunami relief to support “research whaling, stabilization promotion, and countermeasure expenses” for the ICR.
# Most recently, the industry has received a substantial loan, backed by guarantees from the government of Japan, to refit the factory ship of the whaling fleet, with a view to maintaining the fleet for at least another decade.
Polls: Indifference to Whaling, Opposition to Funding
# A majority of Japanese—54.7 percent—are indiﬀerent to whaling.
#Only 27 percent of respondents in Japan say they support whaling, and only 11 percent do so strongly.
#89 percent say they have not bought any whale meat in the last 12 months.
# 85 percent expressed opposition to the use of billions of taxpayer yen to build a new factory ship.