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Minutes of the 1st Meeting of the Committee on Special Permit Research Whaling ≪2/2≫

(The translation is not official.)                        

○ Mr. Nomura
Australia has sued the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for scientific research whaling. I ask for disclosure of the details of the claim of the plaintiff, Australia, and the counterargument of Japan against it as much as possible, though some parts can’ t be disclosed. It is very helpful for the committee to know what the trial is centered on.

○ Mr. Miyahara, Deputy-Director General
I will gather the data on the case filed to ICJ and give a report in the next meeting.

Subject of discussion (3): Future plan
(Mr. Hanabusa, Manager of Far Seas Fisheries Division, Resources Management Department, explained the future plan based on material 6.)

○ Mr. Miyahara
Are there any opinions on nondisclosure of the minute of the next committee meeting and summoning of Mr. Fujise, board chairperson of the Institute of Cetacean Research and Mr. Yamamura, president of Kyodo Senpaku, Co., Ltd. as witnesses?

○ Mr. Akimichi
I think that we ought to welcome the board chairperson of the Institute of Cetacean Research. Can professionals in the resources field be present at the committee meeting where Mr. Fujise will attend, like during the earlier question and answer session?

○ Mr. Miyahara
Yes, they can.

○ Mr. Takanarita
The scientific research whaling is conducted in the North Pacific Ocean and coastal waters as well as the Antarctic Ocean. Does the committee reach consensus on that the scientific research whaling should be argued globally in the committee?

○ Mr. Miyahara
We all have agreed that the scientific research whaling including coastal water is to be argued in this review committee.

○ Mr. Tanigawa
Then, what should we do after we hear the details from the persons concerned?

○ Mr. Miyahara
I’d like to start by obtaining the opinions from all the members, and I think it would be better to hear from a wide variety of witnesses as materials for discussion.

○ Mr. Tanigawa
Are you going to secure the time zone when the committee members and the witnesses can have an exchange of views?

○ Mr. Miyahara
Yes, I will.

○ Mr. Tanigawa
I could have asked this question when the first subject of discussion was deliberated, but I will ask it here. In the “draft” of the opening procedure sent to me in advance, the purpose of organizing this committee was to hear the views from a wide variety of relevant individuals on “the shape of the research on future
whaling”, while in the material distributed today, the purpose is changed to hear the views from relevant individuals on “stable operation of the research whaling”. Is there any reason for the change?

○ Mr. Miyahara
As for the draft, I have had many opportunities to hear opinions from various persons concerned. Some of their opinions are that the content of the opening procedure may lead to misunderstandings such as occurrence of discussion on halt of whaling research in the committee meeting, that the meeting is held for negative purposes, or that if the outcome of the meeting gives the nuance of halt of the whaling research because Japan is trapped in a disappointing situation by the obstruction of the illegal group, Sea Shepherd, Japan may suffer a loss externally. Hence, the phrase “operation of the research on whaling” has been adopted in the end.

○ Mr. Tanigawa
Does it mean that the committee is organized on the basis that the whaling research continues to be done as claimed by Japan’s government representative in IWC and as claimed annually by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and also the Fisheries Agency in the Fisheries White Paper?Are you saying that the basic stances of the Fisheries Agency and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries are unchanged?

○ Mr. Miyahara
Yes, we are. To avoid misunderstandings in the future, various opinions will be dealt with in the meeting. This review meeting is not to be held with our stances set forth in advance, but it is to be held to gather opinions about everything, though it is of course much better that the aforementioned purpose can be

○ Ms. Anan We have just confirmed the whole concept of the review meeting to be held, which is to say, the members of the committee can express opinions openly and negative opinions may be okay.

○ Mr. Inoue, Director-General of Resources Management Department
I will give a supplemental explanation on the statement of Mr. Miyahara. As Mr. Miyahara mentioned before, there is a fear that the “whole concept” described in the draft implies the definite stance of halting the research whaling. That is not the point, but we intend to hear a wide spectrum of views equally. If the conclusion of the meeting takes on a negative tone,the wrong message may be sent. Hence, the name of the committee was changed for that reason. As Mr. Anan mentioned, I think it is most important to obtain
various opinions in the meeting.

○ Ms. Anan
I know. Then, can we hear the decent opinions of witnesses who have an objection against the research whaling, though Sea Shepherd is out of the question?

○ Mr. Miyahara
It is written in the future plan that the environmental protection organizations are to be invited as witnesses. I hope to hear the opinions of the members after they have heard the opinions from the different standpoints.
Again, I won’t force the direction set by the government to the committee, and want to hear a wide spectrum of views.

○ Mr. Takanarita
I ask you to give materials in the future with respect to the organization and mechanism of the whaling performed at present, the whole picture of whaling in Japan including whaling other than that subjected to research whaling and including that in coastal areas, the organizations of the Institute of Cetacean Research and Kyodo Senpaku, Co., Ltd., and the distribution inventory as the inventory is often a topic when whaling is discussed.
Next, I think that the income and expenditure may become one of the points of issue. I ask you to explain the problem of the basic balance when the research whaling is regarded as a national undertaking, that is, how much money it costs to perform the research whaling and how much money can be earned from by-products. The estimation is just reference, and the deficit balance estimated does not mean discontinuation of the research whaling.

○ Mr. Miyahara
  I will arrange the materials as much as possible. I think it important that all the members take a close look at the actual state. But as stated before, some materials can’t be disclosed depending on the content of the material. In such a case, we adopt the nondisclosure rule as appropriate. Because attention must be paid to nondisclosure of the material, I’d like you to understand how it works.

○ Mr. Akimichi
In choosing witnesses, they are not checked by the committee members at present. But generally, various witnesses may be chosen. In particular, some scientists, especially those who are concerned with ecology, have extremely critical opinions against research whaling.Some persons deny the logic of the competition of whale with humans, which is obtained from the results of the research by cutting the stomach of minke whales. Other persons insist that it is better not to adopt the research leading to a fatal outcome, that is, it is better to cut only a piece of meat from a live whale.There are Greenpeace members I have disputed with. I ask you to deliberate the view of each scientist listed here because I want to hear the opinions from the persons who are purely specialized in ecology, not from government-controlled
scholars, though it may be rude to say so.
 I mean, I expect much from persons specialized in ecology, for example, a scientist who is a professor at Yokohama National University and investigates food chains at Shiretoko, which allows the mechanism of food chains to be clarified. It is wonderful that the ecosystem in the Antarctic Ocean is elucidated. So I hope the committee declares research whaling to be a chance to obtain excellent data related to resource

○ Mr. Miyahara
Many candidates of witnesses are listed. But there is little time for choosing witnesses. I will choose them here while hearing your opinions. As mentioned before, we will choose the witnesses for the next meeting during each committee meeting. In the next meeting, I will propose the number of times of the meeting to be held and seek your judgment on it as well as the number of witnesses to be invited for each meeting.
Well, the next meeting will be held according to the draft of the Secretariat Division, and the schedule is to be arranged so that the next meeting it to be held around mid-May.

Subject of discussion (4) Others
○ Mr. Sakuramoto
 Member of the committee: What do you think about the handling of public comments, etc. with respect to this review meeting?

○ Mr. Hanafusa
 I will explain it in the next meeting.

○ Mr. Miyahara:
 Then, all the agendas have been discussed today. We may ask you to focus on various issues in a short period, and we will make efforts to prepare materials to a full extent. Thank you very much for the time you have given us today.

JWCS Volunteer staff: Yoko Suzuki,  Dominik Mainz


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