How Japan Wins Votes for Whaling - From the U.K. Independent

Here is the text from a recent comment made by the IFAW U.K. Anti-Whaling Group Leader on Japanese whaling policy, politics and practice which was publshed today in the United Kingdom's daily, The Independent.

How Japan wins votes for whaling

Sir: The embassy of Japan's tired denials of its government's vote-buying within the International Whaling Commission ring increasingly hollow (letter, 4 May). There is circumstantial evidence that after receipt of fisheries aid, countries such as Nauru, Tuvalu and Kiribati, suddenly find an interest in the whaling issue and join the IWC to vote with Japan.

Also, there is documented evidence that Japan has paid the IWC dues of Grenada. "Charity is a good investment" is the way that Japan's Foreign Minister summed up the situation (quoting a Japanese proverb in the context of Japan's aid programme).

It is only Japan's fisheries aid that is tied in this way, so the other forms of aid given to countries that quite incidentally are Japan's opponents at the IWC does not provide a legitimate defence. Nor does the claim that the other side is playing the same game, citing the various conservationist countries that have recently joined the IWC.

As one pro-whale IWC commissioner put it to me: "We are using shared values to encourage more countries to join. Japan is using money. Guess which is more effective."

VASSILI PAPASTAVROU

THE INTERNATIONAL FUND FOR ANIMAL WELFARE, BRISTOL

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