Japanese Fisheries Agency


Committee Member's Opinion

“Does research whaling require patrol boats?”

by Toru Takanarita (Asahi Asparaclub: Blog)

In July the Whaling Committee of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) published its Interim Report. Speaking as one of the participants, I was not satisfied with the proceedings.

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Committee on Special Permit Research Whaling Interim Report ≪3/3≫


[The translation is not official.]

3. Research Mechanism and Financial Resources

The following opinions were given regarding the research mechanism and financial
resources of the whaling research program:

● The current system of allocating the profits from the sale of byproducts (whale meat) to cover the research costs is not working very well. This is because 1) catch volume has decreased in recent years because of obstruction by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society while 2) sales performance is poor because of the disparity between demand and the [designated] market price, which was originally determined based on the research cost.

● If the program is to be continued as a part of national strategy, the current system of covering the costs of research from the sales of by-products should be reviewed, and the whaling research program should be conducted with improved stability under the national budget.

● Considering the growth of domestic whale meat stocks and the current demand for whale meat, coastal whaling is sufficient to cover needs. There is no need to continue the whaling research program in the Antarctic, with its incumbent high costs and risks.

● The income and expenditure of the whaling research program is not sufficiently transparent due to the current system in which the Institute of Cetacean Research engages Kyodo Senpaku to sell the by-products, and Kyodo Senpaku buys the unsold products at the end of each term and puts them on the market. It would be preferable for Kyodo Senpaku to specialize in the chartering business while the sale of by-products is entrusted to some other party.

● Another very important issue is to delocalize and vitalize whale meat distribution and consumption by promoting its nutritional benefits and cooking methods.

4. Other

There were a couple of other opinions such as the following:

● The Antarctic research was cut short due to harassment by anti-whaling NGOs and the catch volume was well below target. As a result, the Institute of Cetacean Research and Kyodo Senpaku have suffered a great financial loss and urgently need government measures to compensate their losses from the current operation.

● Japanese small-type whaling businesses are having difficulty surviving. Rather than continue the Antarctic whaling program, it is more important to concentrate on coastal whaling, which is rooted in our whaling tradition and food culture, and to resume the commercial hunting of minke whales under small-type whaling.

Ⅳ[IV] Summary

This interim report summarizes the discussions at five whaling research commission meetings for the purpose of hearing a variety of opinions on the stable conduct of whaling research. A wide range of opinions on whaling research was expressed at the meetings. Fewer than might be expected suggested that we should“continue (the research) with a resolute attitude" while a number proposed to "downsize or end the research because of global criticism and cost efficiency".

None of these opinions proposed to expose the research vessels or the lives and assets of the crew to danger. On the contrary, the assurance of safety in the execution of the survey was considered essential and a basic premise.

We hope that this interim report will be taken into consideration during the formulation of future whaling policy.

JWCS Volunteer staff: Rie Semba, Simon Varnam

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Committee on Special Permit Research Whaling Interim Report ≪2/3≫

[The translation is not official.]

2 Continuation of the program

[Each paragraph represents an opinion expressed at the meeting, not the consensus of the committee.]

● With regard to opposing the scientifically baseless and unjustified moratorium on commercial whaling: Since the Special Permit Research Whaling program was started in order to obtain the data required to resume commercial whaling, the legitimate Special Permit Research Whaling program should be continued resolutely, without yielding to illegal and vicious sabotage by SS.

● On the other hand, even if Japan's whale research program is legitimate, the fact that it has been perceived as a subterfuge to effectively allow commercial whaling has led to international criticism. If international understanding cannot be obtained, the research program should be discontinued or reduced in stages.

● The scientific explanation of the necessity for the capture of such a large number of whales each year is insufficient to justify it. Instead, we should minimize the lethal-research program and switch to using alternative non-lethal methods such as visual surveys.

● One of the goals of Special Permit Research Whaling is to investigate feeding in whales. It was hypothesized that whales might cause declines in fish stocks. However, since ecological researchers question this hypothesis, it needs to be carefully re-examined. It may no longer be a valid reason for continuing Special Permit Research Whaling.

● There is a fundamental difference in attitude to whales between Japan, that has long seen whale as a valuable traditional food, and the anti-whaling countries that have no culture or history of eating whales. It is not appropriate that the opinions of the anti-whaling nations are deemed to be internationally recognized opinion. We should not even be discussing the pros and cons of the Special Permit Research Whaling.

● With reference to the importance of the Antarctic ecosystem as a source of future food supplies, the Special Permit Research Whaling program has obtained copious scientific data about whale resources and ecology, and submitted numerous papers and valuable scientific data to the IWC's Scientific Committee and its Journal of Cetacean Research and Management. The program’s valuable academic achievements must be properly acknowledged.

● The scientific achievements of the past make it evident that there are abundant resources of Antarctic minke in the Antarctic Ocean. If the Revised Management Procedure (RMP) required to resume commercial whaling has been completed, we should strive to build a consensus at IWC for the resumption of commercial whaling and then there will be no need to continue the Special Permit Research Whaling program in the Antarctic Ocean.

● Despite Japanese efforts at gaining consensus on the resumption of commercial whaling, there has been a long stalemate in the IWC due to the rejection of scientific debate by the anti-whaling nations. This too should be borne in mind when reconsidering the significance of the Special Permit Research Whaling program.

JWCS Volunteer staff: Hiroko Cross, Simon Varnam

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Committee on Special Permit Research Whaling Interim Report ≪1/3≫

[The translation is not official.]


III Concerning the course of Special Permit Research Whaling

  The committee agreed without any basic objections that whales are, based on scientific data, a viable and sustainable food resource, and that Japan’s Special Permit Research Whaling is “scientific research” as provided for in article 8 of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW), and hence a legal right..
   Besides, there was consensus that maintaining safety was essential, to the continuity of the survey in the Antarctic Ocean. However, opinions were divided over the following major issues.

1. On maintaining safety in the Antarctic survey with regard to harassment by anti-whaling NGOs

[ Each paragraph represents an opinion expressed at the meeting, not the consensus of the committee.]

● We cannot not give in to illegal violence by anti-whaling NGOs and end the Antarctic survey. Security measures should be taken, including dispatching the Japan Coast Guard to protect people’s lives and property, and guarantee the continuity of the program.

● While ensuring safety is essential, there is opposition to the dispatch of JCG vessels. There is the risk of escalation of violence in international waters, which, if it did not receive international approval, could damage Japan’s standing. The effect of such action on international feeling should be considered carefully as part of national strategy.

● Giving in so easily to these attacks will only encourage the NGOs to further activity; after the Antarctic, it will be the N. W. Pacific; after whales will come tuna. We have to make a stand somewhere. If Japan can’t defend itself directly, how about having a third party maintain security for the meanwhile?


● Much more effort should be made through the IWC and diplomatic channels to increase understanding for Japan’s position on the survey and on handling harassment by NGOs. Without this understanding, the dispatch of JCG ships would damage Japan’s reputation.

● When Japan has brought up the topic of harassment by NGOs at IWC meetings, all the other member countries have condemned their behaviour, but even though resolutions have been passed to ask members to install appropriate measures to restrain the NGOs, it is a serious problem that neither the Netherlands or Australia (where the ships are registered), nor New Zealand (used as a port of call) have made even the slightest move in that direction.

● We should consider more aggressive appliance of the SUA treaty (Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Act against Vessels at Sea), both to prevent harassment by NGOs and to stress our legitimacy to the world.

● Additionally, it is important that we continue PR efforts, at home and abroad, on accepting that our whaling research is lawful and is being obstructed by the illegal activities of anti-whaling NGOs.

● On the other hand, a PR campaign could lead to a PR battle that might easily result in Japan’s being “used” by anti-whaling forces.

● The definition of ”piracy” in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is far wider than that in the Japanese Anti-Piracy Law. We should inquire whether the NGOs’ harassment falls under the UNCLOS definition of piracy.

● On the other hand, international law assumes “pirates” to be the common enemy of international society, so we would be unlikely to gain international understanding by claiming that SS (Sea Shepherd) are “pirates” under that definition.

JWCS Volunteer staff: Nobuko Ishizuka, Simon Varnam

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Minutes of the 2nd Meeting of the Committee on Special Permit Research Whaling ≪5/5≫

(Mr.Tsutsui, Senior Vice-Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries was seated)

◯Mr.Tsutsui, Senior Vice-Minister of MAFF -
I would like to thank the participants for attending this meeting today and offer my apologies for arriving late due to other business.
Today, as we have with us the Director General of the ICR, which runs Japan's Special Permit Research Whaling, and the President of Kyodo Senpaku, which actually conducts the whaling and sales, I expect we can learn from them the details of the Special Permit Research Whaling program, from the purpose of the program and its current status, to the sales of whalemeat. Despite the suspension of the program this year, we of MAFF are determined to continue the program until it leads to the resumption of commercial whaling, and look forward to clarifying the details and reaffirming the significance of the program today.
Finally, I would like to express my appreciation for the efforts and understanding of the committee. Thank you. [greetings omitted]
○Anan -
The stocks of whalemeat are shown on page 7. I am well aware that there are some regions with a tradition of eating whalemeat. However, even in such regions the custom is not widespread; and in terms of consumer needs there is a strong tendency away from whalemeat as a source of protein ; I don’t think there is anywhere in the country where consumers insist on eating whalemeat; so, it is only to be expected that stocks should back up.
However cheap you sell whalemeat to raise its popularity, I don’t believe consumption will significantly increase. Instead we have commercial whaling, the coastal whaling, very near the coast, for Baird's beaked whale and cetaceans that are not controlled by the IWC, which can easily meet consumer needs. There is no need to go to all the way to, and risk the dangers of, the Antarctic Ocean and thereby spend huge quantities of money just to continue the Special Permit Research Whaling program.
○Miyahara -
Are there any questions or comments about page 8, the financial situation?
○Takanarita -
Perhaps we should review this topic after we have heard the others..
○Miyahara -
Are there any questions about the final item: harassment and the limits of measures to counter it?
◯Nomura -
[Far Seas Fisheries Division head] Mr Hanafusa said that on February 18 he had been obliged to call an end to the survey. I can understand that if Nisshin Maru were located by SS, it would mean the end of the survey, but I hear that SS left the area to refuel. When the SS ships returned to the area, they would probably quickly find the Nisshin Maru again. Is that right? Once the SS ships left, couldn’t the research vessels have shaken off the pursuit?
The answer to your last question is “No”. Normally, once the SS ships left the scene, the survey vessels would try to get as far away as possible, but on February 18, the Bob Barker continued to tail the Nisshin Maru. The chase was 1-on-1. i.e. the factory ship v. Bob Barker. When the other SS ship returned after refuelling, the chase would be 2-on-1, and harassment would become more extreme.
For ten days, from February 9th to 18th, the Nisshin Maru did its best to throw off the pursuit, but could not escape because the Bob Barker was faster than Nisshin Maru. The Bob Barker seems to have a very large fuel tank and can sail for a long time without refueling, and it would not give up the chase.
○Nomura -
Wasn’t one of the roles of the multi-purpose ships to be a decoy, and protect Nisshin Maru by diverting the attention of Sea Shepherd?
Because the multi-purpose ship met up with the ships of Sea Shepherd beforehand, it was able to track them and inform the factory ship of their whereabouts.
○Takanarita -
What kind of harassment has been carried out in the North Pacific Ocean recently? I hear there is video footage of harassment against coastal whaling too. What kind of harassment has been carried out there?
◯Mr. Takaya, Specialist, IAD, RMD -
The harassment was especially extreme in Taiji-cho, Wakayama Prefecture. Foreigners blocked car traffic, doggedly following people and taking photos. In addition, last year, the pens where dolphins are kept were cut.
○Takanarita -
Weren’t both these cases about dolphins? In other words, they were nothing to do with the whale research program, were they?
◯Takaya -
So far, foreigners have come to see the whale research program but they did not actually carry out any harassment.
○Takanarita -
How about harassment in the North Pacific?
◯Takaya -
No harassment has been carried out in the Northwest Pacific at this time.
○Takanarita -
Is that because it is physically impossible?
◯Takaya -
No, it IS possible. And according to their website and other sources, Sea Shepherd plan to carry out more harassment.

○Hayashi -
I’d like to discuss the legal issues on pages 10 and 11 starting with the interpretation of anti-piracy laws in the box on page 10. According to the Cabinet decision on the interpretation of the Japanese Anti-piracy Law, the activities of Sea Shepherd do not fall within the scope of the law. I had not been aware of this and was disappointed to hear it. Article 2, Clause 1 of the Law (p.11) refers to "the use of violence or other methods to seize another ship at sea, or to control at will the navigation of another ship". I have long suspected that actions by SS such as throwing objects at the screw count as “control[ing] at will the navigation of another ship.” It also falls under piracy as defined in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). [See reference] I had previously believed that it could be regarded as piracy as defined in the Japanese Anti-piracy Law. Though a Cabinet decision on the matter has been made, I would like, today, to re-affirm my personal opinion that the Law could be so interpreted.
In addition, even if Japanese law does not apply to this case, piracy is widely defined in Article 101 of UNCLOS. It includes all illegal acts of violence. Unlike the Japanese [Anti-piracy] Law, it is not limited to certain closely defined acts such as the taking of hostages and controlling the navigation of another ship. And as it can be regarded in a wider sense as illegal violence, even though Japanese law does not apply, I think that it is still possible to make a diplomatic protest based on Article 101 of UNCLOS. That is my opinion.
○Akimichi -
I assume the Fisheries Agency is aware why Australia filed suit in May to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. To make sure we have the same understanding of the matter, would you please review why the Australian Labour government chose to do this now?
○Hanafusa -
If I remember correctly, a year ago when they were the opposition party seeking election, they made this pledge to appeal to voters. So once they were in power, they were obliged to fulfill that pledge.
○Akimichi -
It was in their manifesto, wasn’t it.
○Hanafusa, -
Last year, the Australian government submitted a petition of about 30 pages warning that they intended to file. Australia and Japan discussed when they would start the procedure. It was decided in July that they would start legal procedures ten months later, so Australia filed its written submission on May 9th, ten months after the decision.
○Sakuramoto -
The second item in document No. 5 says "The Australian government believes Japan’s whaling activities are contrary to its international obligations, in particular, the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling.” Does this refer to [other kinds of] "Whaling" , or the "Special Permit Research Whaling program"? Can you tell us more about why it is contrary to the ICRW?
○Hanafusa, -
Though I am not permitted to share strictly confidential information, I can tell you that they insist that the Special Permit Research Whaling program is not scientific research but simply unabashed (commercial) whaling.
○Sakuramoto -
Then does the second item represent the “Special Permit Research Whaling program" rather than [other kinds of] "whaling"?
○Hanafusa -
Yes, that is right.
○Sakuramoto -
In addition, "contrary to the International Convention" means it is not scientific, doesn’t it. Does it give any clear reason why it is not scientific? I see something in English here. Is this all there is? [English part of Doc 5]
[The Memorial itself] is a huge document, so I’m sure there is more in there.
○Sakuramoto -
Is the reason why it is not scientific given in the document?
○Hanafusa, -
We have not finished reading this document yet. Even when we finish, the contents must remain strictly confidential, I’m afraid.
◯Nomura -
I hear that Australia has nominated a judge for the ICJ. Will Japan do so too?
○Hanafusa, -
There are fifteen judges, including one Japanese, but no Australian. So to keep a balance, there will be one judge from the each country concerned.
○Nomura -
So the judgment will not be, for example, like arbitration, where three judges participate in the process, then?
○Sakuramoto -
I’d like to confirm one point. 440 whales were caught until 2004 and the number of caught whale has increased since 2005. According to earlier comments, if the number of whales caught increases, will the price of whalemeat inevitably fall?
Yes, that’s right.
○Sakuramoto -
Then, the number of whales caught increased to 440 after 1995, so the price of whalemeat should have fallen lower than it was before. I imagine the price of whalemeat must have fallen even further since 2005. But when looking at the supply and demand of whalemeat, we need also to consider other financial indices. In other words, I imagine the severe recession after 2000 must have affected the price of whalemeat.
○Miyahara -
Do you mean that we should consider the trends of general fish prices? I see. I’ll see what we can do.

----------------------------[end] ----------------------------
JWCS Volunteer staff: Rie Senba, Kazuo Ishii, Simon Varnam

United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
Article 101 Definition of piracy
Piracy consists of any of the following acts:
(a) any illegal acts of violence or detention, or any act of depredation, committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private ship or a private aircraft, and directed:
(i) on the high seas, against another ship or aircraft, or against persons or property on board such ship or aircraft;  (ii) against a ship, aircraft, persons or property in a place outside the jurisdiction of any State;
(b) any act of voluntary participation in the operation of a ship or of an aircraft with knowledge of facts making it a pirate ship or aircraft;
(c) any act of inciting or of intentionally facilitating an act described in subparagraph (a) or (b).

Document 4, page 5
The sales mechanism for by-products (副産物の販売の仕組み)
Whalemeat, the by-product of the research, is, after each survey, by order of the Minister of MAFF, under the law, and under the control of the FA, sold, and the proceeds used to cover the expenses of the research.

The current system was installed at the start of the program so that the government could secure the appropriate disposal of by-products according to the ICRW, while holding prices down and guaranteeing revenue to cover the costs of research.

However the prices, set in order to cover costs, have failed to match the needs of the market in recent years and have contributed to the downturn in sales.

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Minutes of the 2nd Meeting of the Committee on Special Permit Research Whaling ≪4/5≫

○Tanigawa -
  The whaling quota is 935, so even if we were not able to take 100% we could get by with 80-90% of the quota, but when, like this year, the season is cut short and only 170 whales are caught, there is going to be a shortfall, and there will not be enough funds to pay the ICR or Kyodo Senpaku staff or the charter fees. How are you going to deal with this?

That is the problem we have to deal with.

○Tanigawa -
   So, the Minister ordered the termination without considering the consequences.

○Miyahara -
   How to make up the deficit is something we will be working on, taking today’s discussion into account.

○Tanigawa -
   We are not talking about the future losses here. Will a compensation plan for the losses resulting from the fact only 170 whales were caught this year be decided by the result of today’s meeting?
Do you mean that (leaving, for the moment, the future, and concentrating on the immediate problem this season, which has ended with a catch of a mere 170 whales) the results of this meeting will decide how the deficit is met?

○Miyahara -
The results of this meeting will not directly affect the decision, but today’s discussions will be used to make a timely decision on the possibility of supplementary budgets.

○Tanigawa -
  In which month will the supplementary budgets be prepared?

○Miyahara -
  I cannot say for certain because it depends on the Diet [national assembly] schedule, but according to yesterday's newspaper, it could be at the end of August [2011].

○Akimichi -
  Price and demand were mentioned earlier. I feel this “low catch = high prices = low consumer demand” way of thinking is too passive. It may follow economic theory but, you need more vision. For example, the whaling industry has declined since the whaling moratorium. There’s nothing wrong with a “Let’s eat more whalemeat” campaign, but I think we need a more drastic government effort to help boost the industry. Whalemeat consumption should be promoted far more. This is an opinion, not a question.
There are the wholesalers, the major food retail chains, the food chains that account for 80% of whalemeat sales. [sic] And the various consumer regions – Kushiro, Hakodate, Sendai, Nagasaki and Osaka – are all different. I think you should be making a more detailed analysis, (or perhaps you have data already) to work on more-finely tuned sales promotion, and would like to hear about it, perhaps on another occasion.

○Miyahara -
We plan to invite sales-related parties to the meeting after next and will have some materials ready by then.
○Tanigawa -
Returning to whalemeat stocks: Mr Nomura mentioned the problem of bundling whale statistics with Baird's and dolphins.
I also hear that minke from the Antarctic Ocean remains in stock. In fact, there are different kinds of whalemeat, white and red; and the (white) skin [=blubber] has sold well and is out of stock, while red meat has not sold well and is piling up.
I’m not complaining about stopping the whale research program at 170 whales, but if a certain number of whales were caught, and if the [blubber] were sold at suitable prices, the expenses of ICR and Kyodo Senpaku could be covered, even if the red meat remained unsold. Therefore, whalemeat should not be treated as one item, but, because there are a variety of trade routes and prices for different parts,….. we shouldn’t forget how well the [blubber] is selling! [sic]
○Nomura -
Regarding the 1:8:1 ratio on page 6, Mr Hanafusa suggested that the open market portion has decreased. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the ratio has always been the same.
As I understand it, from the very start, the idea was to keep special permit whalemeat OFF the open market for fear that prices would skyrocket. High prices would mean that the people/places which absolutely depend on whalemeat would not get it, so it was kept off the open market to avoid the pressures of supply and demand. Whether this was appropriate or not, the reason for the current ratio, as I see it, is not that the open market dealers don’t want it or that environmental action groups have made trade more difficult, but because it was deliberately kept off the open market. Whether or not it would be advisable or possible to change this ratio is something I’d like to hear your thoughts on.
As Mr Nomura says, it is true that the original supply was small. Initial catches were around 300. At that time, there was certainly not enough to satisfy the open market; so, to keep a fair balance, most trade was off-market; but there was a little open market activity, I think. Nowadays, there is no allocation by prefecture or location as there was in former days.
○Nomura -
The ratio has been fixed for a long time, hasn’t it?
○Hanafusa -
The ratio is not fixed.
○Nomura -
Are open market sales decreasing?
○Hanafusa -
Yes, they are.
○Mr. Nomura -
Does this mean that the open market has no demand for whalemeat any longer?
○Hanafusa -
I am not sure of the whole truth though I have heard from a variety of people, but I hear of people who handle whalemeat retiring, and the younger or inexperienced people who replace them do not know how to handle whalemeat. And since the quantities involved are small, the effort required to learn how to handle whalemeat will not improve their performance figures, and so the trade in whalemeat has declined.
I have also heard from parent companies who, due to the pressure from environmental protection groups, have been reluctant to handle whalemeat.

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Minutes of the 2nd Meeting of the Committee on Special Permit Research Whaling ≪3/5≫

○Takaya -
  It is sold at reduced prices for public services. The main uses of the products are in canteens and school lunches, hospital food (because it is safe for people with allergies) and local festivals for spreading awareness. For that reason, the selling price is set below the market price.

○Professor Hayashi, Committee member -
  The statistics chart on page 7 mentions imports in 2009 and 2010. Would you tell us the types of imported meat and their origins.

○Hanafusa, -
  Fin whale was imported from Iceland and common minke whale from Norway.

○Takanarita -
  You mentioned earlier that whalemeat sales consisted of open market sales, direct marketing and others in a 1:8:1 ratio. Why does direct marketing account for 80% of the whole? I imagine a type of door-to-door shipment, however, I believe that sales on the open market would provide more transparency in terms of food distribution. Could you give us some historical background to explain how this situation arose?

○Hanafusa, -
  One of the reasons is that the pressure from [domestic] environmental protection groups makes open marketing difficult. Another is that outside the market, processors and wholesalers will make large orders at a discount which has decreased the market portion and simultaneously increased the outside-the-market portion.

○Associate Professor Tanigawa, Committee member -
  Earlier, Mr Nomura asked about the ”However” exception on the use of proceeds from the sale of by-products. I would like you to confirm whether salaries for ICR staff fall under this exception.

○Mr Nakaoku Investigator, FSFD RMD -
  The ICR staff includes those directly involved with research as well as the office staff in the management division, which means the administrative staff are also paid under this exception. Besides whaling research, the ICR is also active in education and promoting public awareness for a better understanding of whaling, and these costs too are paid under this exception.

○Tanigawa -
   Does that mean the ICR would not be able to pay the staff when, like this year, only 170 whales were caught and the by-product sales were low?

○Nakaoku -
  As the revenue and expenditure tables on page 8 [of doc. 4] show, apart from government subsidies and research grants, the ICR has no revenue except that from by-product sales. The ICR is an incorporated foundation (財団法人zaidan-houjin) and does not have membership fee revenue, therefore, Mr Tanigawa is basically right. However, since salaries must be paid under any circumstances, this makes it a very difficult situation and I believe Mr Tanigawa is right to be concerned.

○Tanigawa –
  There may be an explanation to this question later in this meeting, but I understand that Kyodo Senpaku, which owns the chartered ships, also does not make any money without the research by-product, whalemeat. Does this mean Kyodo Senpaku, too, will not be able to pay their staff? Are we to assume that this also applies to all other items including charter fees?

○Nakaoku -
  The ICR pays charter fees to Kyodo Senpaku which include the crew’s wages and administration fees. If funds were exhausted due to a lack of by-product sales, the above situation could occur.

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Minutes of the 2nd Meeting of the Committee on Special Permit Research Whaling ≪2/5≫

○Professor Akimichi, Committee member -
  It may be too soon to mention this, but what plans do you have for the restoration of the hand-harpoon (tsukimbou) dolphin hunting industry formerly conducted in the Sanriku area? Does the Fisheries Agency have a supplementary budget or other plans for this year ?

○Hanafusa, -
  Dolphin hunting and other coastal fishing industries are all in the same boat. Dolphin hunting will not be favoured over other fishing industries. The Fisheries Agency would like to support reconstruction in the form of supplementary budgets, while taking local opinions into account.

○Akimichi -
  Unlike the other coastal fishing such as abalone or wakame harvesting, dolphin hunting is also conducted in the Tsugaru Strait and the North Pacific Ocean, and could be resumed immediately if the vessels were not damaged. It should be considered separately. Your vision is too extensive. You must not treat all fisheries together from the overall point of view of the two ministries (MAFF and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism). You should regard whaling as a unified independent matter.

○Hanafusa, -
  The coastal research in the North-West Pacific Ocean is being conducted off Kushiro (Hokkaido) this year as the port at Ayukawa is too damaged to support the research.

○Akimichi -
  What about the hand-harpoon dolphin hunting?

It is possible that resumption of hand-harpoon dolphin hunting may be delayed as 1) the areas in Sanriku where dolphin meat is consumed and 2) the hunting vessels, have suffered considerable damage.

○Professor Sakuramoto, Committee member -
  The catch figures on pp1 and 2 for small type whaling are from 2009 while those for the whaling research catch are from 2010. 2010 was a very unusual year in that the Antarctic research was cut short. The table on p3 shows that a reasonable number of whales were captured in Antarctic up to 2009, so it would make a better comparison if the 2009 data were used from both categories.

○Professor Takanarita, Committee member -
  This is just a detail, but – does the quota of 66 for Baird's beaked whale apply to each area such as Abashiri and Ayukawa, or is it the nationwide quota?

  The Fisheries Agency sets the national quota, and the whalers share it according to their own needs. The quota may be regarded as flexible within the limit of the national quota.

○Takanarita -
  I hear that, there are three small type whaling vessels [harpoon-gun coastal whalers] in Ayukawa. One of them has a damaged hull while the others are undamaged. One of them was due to be at sea again yesterday, so two vessels are currently in working condition, and the damaged one will be opertaional once it is repaired. Is that correct?


○Miyahara -
  Let us now move on to the next part – pages 4 to 7: Whaling Research Operation Structure, Sale of By-Products, and Supply.

○Takanarita -
  Where does the “Association for Community-Based Whaling” (ASCOBAW) fit in the chart on page 4?

○Takaya -
  Page 4 was drawn up to illustrate Antarctic research, but for coastal research, the main research organization, the Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR), will be replaced by ASCOBAW, and Kyodo Senpaku will be replaced by members of the Small-Type Whaling Association (JSTWA) chartered by the Association.

○Takanarita -
Please tell us the date of establishment, and the numbers of full time executives and officers of ASCOBAW, as for the ICR.

○Takaya -
There are no full time executives, but one full time officer. It was established in January 2010.

○Takanarita -
Does that mean Ayukawa Whaling (Ltd.) will replace Kyodo Senpaku?

Yes, that’s correct.

○Nomura -
Concerning the second and third points in the box on page 5 [See foot note], the second point means that the government would like to control the price of whalemeat to keep it from becoming too expensive, doesn’t it? May I interpret the third point as meaning that; the price is too high for the present market because it was set based on the research cost, while lowering the price might improve the current poor sales performance?

Section 14 of the Statement of Operation Procedures states“proceeds from the sale of by-products shall be allocated to research expenses.” There follows an exception: “However,…etc. ”. Would you give us a specific example of this exception, please?

On page 7, the item “Other” under “Annual Supply”, on the far right hand side of the table, may include whales that are not covered in research whaling such as Baird's beaked whales, false killer whales and dolphins. However, the price and demand of these other whales (such as common minke, sei, Baird's or false killer whales) which are not subject to research are all different. What is the point of discussing this supply and stock data when the various kinds are aggregated?

○Takaya -
   The second point in the box on page 5 implies what Mr Nomura said.
With the third point, the main reason for this situation is that the price was set based on the target catch. This is because the initial investment required is the same whether we catch the target catch of 850, or this year's catch of only 170. This means the actual cost per head has increased enormously. On the other hand, with the poor recent market situation we cannot reflect the cost in the selling price, i.e. it is not possible to increase the price four-fold simply because the catch was only a quarter of the target.

○Nomura -
  So, that means sales would increase if the price were lower, as I said earlier.

  Yes, it does.

   The phrase following “However” in Section 14 of the Statement of Operation Procedures specifically refers to the costs of management and of non-whaling research activity for the Institute of Cetacean Research.
And the third question. about supply and stocks; the number of whales and dolphins are shown all together as you mentioned, because of limited data. The official statistics for Frozen Foods include only total figures from all sections.

  We will look into the availability of data.

○Ms. Anan, Committee member -
  Where does Dolphin Hunting on page 2 (for which fishery permits are issued by the prefectural governor) fit in the Operation System chart shown on page 4?

○Takaya, Resources Management Department -
  This dolphin hunting is one of the types of purely commercial whaling [i.e. not included in research whaling] and is carried out by coastal fishermen under permit from their local (prefectural) authorities.

○Anan -
  Thank you. And one more question - according to page 6, the by-products are sold by Kyodo Senpaku. Are they sold when supplied as a public service [or donated]?

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Minutes of the 2nd Meeting of the Committee on Special Permit Research Whaling≪1/5≫

[The translation is not official.]

--------------- Notes on this translation ---------------
This translation is provisional and does not have the approval of the organizers, MAFF.
The original is available (in Japanese) at: http://www.jfa.maff.go.jp/j/study/enyou/pdf/gizigaiyo2.pdf
“Document 4” is available (in Japanese) at http://www.jfa.maff.go.jp/j/study/enyou/pdf/shiryo2_4.pdf
Bilingual “Document 5” is available at http://www.jfa.maff.go.jp/j/study/enyou/pdf/shiryo2_5.pdf
Notes in square brackets [ ] are intended to clarify nuances for the foreign reader.
“Agenda topics”, not included in the MAFF minutes, have been added from Document 4 .
A diagram of the organization of MAFF is also appended.
The titles and affiliations of the committee members have been added for perspective.
In this document, Japan’s Whaling Research Program is known by MAFF’s term “Special Permit Research Whaling”

1. Date & Time
Tuesday, 17th May 2011 14:00-17:03

2. Place
Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Special Conference Room 2

3. Attendees
Nobutaka Tsutsui, Senior Vice-Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
Committee Members:
Tomoya Akimichi, Professor, Research Institute for Humanity and Nature
Hisa Anan, Director-General, “Shodanren” (“Consumers Japan” the National Liaison Committee of Consumer Organisations)
Kazumi Sakuramoto, Professor, Ph.D., Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology
Toru Takanarita, Professor, Sendai University
Naoya Tanigawa, Associate Professor, Chuogakuin University
Ichiro Nomura, Former Director-General, FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department
Moritaka Hayashi, Professor emeritus, Waseda University
Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) staff:
Masanori Miyahara, Deputy Director-General of Fisheries Agency (->FA) [Moderator],
Akira Inoue, Director of Resources Management Dept. (RMD = dep’t of FA)
Kenji Kagawa, Councillor, Resources Management Dept,
Katsuma Hanafusa, Director of Far Seas Fisheries Division(FSFD =div’n of RMD)
Tatsuya Nakaoku, Investigator, FSFD
Shigeki Takaya, Specialist, International Affairs Division (IAD =div’n of RMD)

(Titles and affiliations are omitted after each speaker’s first comment)

4. Minutes of the proceedings
After confirming the non-disclosure of discussion on Section 2, the meeting proceeded as follows;

Section 1: The Current Situation of Special Permit Research Whaling

(Explanation of documents No. 4 and 5 by Mr. Hanafusa, Director FSFD, RMD.)
Agenda topics
1 An overview of Japan’s Special Permit Research Whaling program and Whaling in general
2 The structure of the Special Permit Research Whaling program
3 The results of the Special Permit Research Whaling program
4 The sales mechanism for by-products
5 Sales and distribution of by-products
6 Changes in whalemeat stocks, supply and demand
7 Financial state of the ICR
8 Harassment by anti-whaling NGOs

○Mr. Nomura, Committee member -
  As I’m sure everyone will have many questions to ask, may I suggest we proceed section by section?

○Mr. Miyahara, Deputy Director-General of Fisheries Agency -
  Then, we will proceed section by section, and hear your overall opinions once we have covered all sections. For now, let us start with the first three pages in document No.4.

○Nomura -
   First, on page 1, would you explain why only 119 of the North Pacific quota of 220 common minke whales were caught?
Second, on page 2, only 1 catcher ship was allocated in 2010. We understand that two multi-purpose vessels were allocated for spotting and to deal with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SS), however, we would like to know why the number of catcher ships was decreased from 2 to 1 while the quota remained the same.

○Mr. Hanafusa, Director of Far Seas Fisheries Division, RMD -
As for, why only 119 out of 220 minke were captured, it could be that few minke were found because of oceanic environmental changes. We managed to capture only about 40 whales from the [North Pacific] offshore quota of 100. As we understand it, higher water temperature hastened the whales’ migration northward, so we were unable to fulfill the quota before the research period ended. Moreover, bad weather, with fog and high waves, made it difficult to spot whales and may have affected performance.

Two multi-purpose vessels were allocated because SS had two vessels and we needed to have an equal number to deal with them. The number of catcher ships was decreased from two to one to reduce costs as much as possible, as our net asset value has been declining due to our continued deficit. However, we had estimated that it would be possible to achieve the quota by using one of the multi-purpose vessels as a catcher when there was no harassment.

○Nomura -
  In a perfect world, it might have been possible. However it still would not have been possible to fill the quota if there were any harassment. Decreasing the number of whaling vessels from two to one suggests that you had already given up on filling the quota from the start.

○Hanafusa -
Of course, that is not what we planned. There is no change in the plan to capture 850 whales as required for the scientific research program.

○Mr. Takaya, Specialist, International Affairs Division RMD-
Based on the numbers and consistency of past catches, we believe it is perfectly possible to catch the full quota. In fact, it is the capacity of the mother vessel (factory ship) that limits the catch volume, and there would be no problem achieving the catch target if 2 catcher ships were fully available.

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Note:Organisation of Fisheries Agency

Organisation of Fisheries Agency. Bold type = participants

Senior Vice-Minister of A, F & F Nobutaka Tsutsui
農林水産副大臣  筒井

Fisheries Agency 水産庁
Director-General / Deputy Director-General Miyahara水産庁長官 / 水産庁次長 宮原
Fisheries Policy Planning Department ->Director-General  漁政部 -> 漁政部長
Counsellor 参事官
Administration Division 漁政課
Vessels Management Office 船舶管理室
Policy Planning Division 企画課
Fisheries Structure Improvement Office 水産業体質強化推進室
Fisheries Management Improvement Division 水産経営課
Fisheries Cooperatives Office 指導室
Fisheries Processing Industries and Marketing Division 加工流通課
Fishery Products Trade Office 水産物貿易対策室
Director, Fisheries Insurance 漁業保険管理官
Resources Management Department Director- 資源管理部 -> 資源管理部長 井上
General Councillor 審議官 香川
Counsellor 参事官
Resources Management Division 管理課
Resources Management Promotion Office 資源管理推進室
Enforcement Office 指導監督室
Fisheries Coordination Division 沿岸沖合課
Recreational Fishing and Coastal Waters Activities Coordination Office 遊漁・海面利用室
Far Seas Fisheries Division Hanafusa 遠洋課 -> 課長 花房
International Affairs Division 国際課
Overseas Fisheries Cooperation Office 海外漁業協力室
Resources Enhancement Promotion Department Director 増殖推進部増殖推進部長
General Counsellor 参事官
Research and Technological Guidance Division 研究指導課
Marine Technology Office 海洋技術室
Resources and Environment Research Division 漁場資源課
Ecosystem Conservation Office 生態系保全室
Fish Ranching and Aquaculture Division 栽培養殖課
Fisheries Infrastructure Department -> Director-General  漁港漁場整備部 -> 漁港漁場整備部長
Planning Division 計画課
Construction Division 整備課
Fishing Communities Promotion and Disaster Prevention Division 防災漁村課
Fisheries Facilities Disaster Restoration Office 水産施設災害対策室
Fisheries Policy Council 水産政策審議会
Fisheries Coordination Office 漁業調整事務所
Advisor to the MAFF on International Affairs (Fisheries) 国際顧問(水産)

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