A very small group of whalers continue to hunt whales in Japan - even though there is little demand for whale meat.
In 2019 Japan left the International Whaling Commission (IWC) so it could continue to hunt whales in its economic zone. This means Japanese whalers can kill Sei whales, Bryde’s whales and Minke whales within its domestic waters.
In 2022, Japanese whalers killed 270 whales and their quota allows a staggering 347 whales to be killed this year.
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ANA Holdings, the parent company of All Nippon Airways, is a respected airline that serves passengers worldwide.
How many of its passengers know that it offers whale meat on its website through Japan’s hometown tax system?
The Japanese hometown tax system allows taxpayers to donate to local governments in exchange for local products. ANA permits multiple whale products to be offered on its website under the hometown tax system. Products include whale meat sets, whale bacon and pickled whale.
Some of these whale meat products come from the Taiji town, the home of the controversial dolphin hunts.
ANA claims to be committed to environmental protection and biodiversity conservation.
ANA has a target to ‘ensure that the use, harvesting and trade of wild species are sustainable, safe and legal’ in the ANA Biodiversity Policy.
Yet it is supporting whaling by offering whale meat.
Japan allows whalers to conduct whaling activities within its exclusive economic zone, which is an area extending 200 nautical miles from its coastline. This is allowed under international law, as the International Whaling Commission’s moratorium on commercial whaling does not apply to whaling activities conducted within a country’s exclusive economic zone. Japan withdrew from the International Whaling Commission in 2019 to continue commercial whaling in its own waters. This decision was met with international criticism and concern for the conservation of whale populations.
Japan sets its own whaling quotas for Minke whales, Sei whales, and Bryde’s whales. The quota for 2023 permits whalers to catch and kill 136 Minke whales, 187 Bryde’s whales and 24 Sei whales.