Whaling accounts for one-tenth the value of Japan's annual market for toothbrushes.
An encouraging article on Australia's Sydney Morning Herald today quotes Tomohiko Taniguchi, previously spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tokyo.
"Of the hundreds of matters he dealt with, the one he dreaded most was defending Japan's whaling program...'I hated this issue because there's no point in Japan sticking to its position,' he tells the Herald."
The Japanese whaling industry is neglibible in contributing to their economy, the number of people who derive their living from whaling is a tiny fraction in a country of 130 million. With a worsening economy the subsidies and concessions provided to the whaling industry will become harder to justify especially when compared to the damage done to international relationships.
Do we dare hope that we are looking at the last days of whaling by Japan?