Leading article: Beat Japan on its own terms

Share
Related Topics

The omens don't look good because, as The Independent has revealed, a devious strategy of entryism has enabled Japan to stuff the International Whaling Commission with clients whose main purpose for joining is to dilute the 1986 ban and put harpooners back in business. So it is that a host of countries, some of which have not even a coast, let alone a history of whaling, have recently joined the IWC - their interest in whaling's revival linked to financial sweeteners from Tokyo.

The sums involved are mere gewgaws to Japan - a few million dollars here or there - but the money is enough to buy their support for Japan's agenda of piecemeal dismantling of the 1986 ban, firstly by voting to end the IWC's conservation agenda and secondly by introducing secret ballots into the IWC voting system. This means no one will be able to tell which countries voted for or against hunting bans, and it will make the conservationists' task that much harder.

So, what to do? The worst strategy would be to sit back and hope some of Japan's new clients on the IWC will not bother to vote, which is what happened last year in South Korea, when Japan already had a narrow majority on the IWC thanks to the advent of such sudden enthusiasts for whaling as Gambia, Togo and Mali. As Japan's delegate, Akira Nakamae, then confidently remarked, however, "the reversal of history, the turning point is soon to come". Too true, as matters stand.

The way to jolt Mr Nakamae's calculations is to make it transparently clear to the Japanese government that public opinion here is as adamantly and passionately opposed to the hunting of the great whales as they may be for it. We need to sound the tocsin over this issue, mobilise, and put pressure on our governments to be far more active than they have been in confronting Japan on the IWC. Japan's strategy of enlisting impoverished proxies to serve its purposes needs to be rumbled and exposed.

At the same time, we need to deal with these new members in a direct fashion. If that means imitating Japan's tactics, so be it. Collectively, the anti-whaling countries could easily outbid Tokyo and get some of the new IWC members on to our side instead. In a country that places much store on "face", such a defeat would mean a great deal.

We should feel no compunction about resorting to such tactics. St Paul told the early Christians to be "as wise as serpents, as innocent as doves", by which he meant it sometimes pays to be sneaky in the service of a good cause. Well this is one of them, so let's get to it. Now there's an Easter message for you.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Read Next
In 1215 the Magna Carta forced the English King (at the time King John) to respect the laws of the land and guaranteed rights and protections to his subjects  

Magna Carta will be 800 years old next year – the perfect reminder of the rights and freedoms we must hold dear

Nigel Farage
David Cameron and George Osborne tour building works at Manchester's Victoria Railway Station  

There’s more to the Tories caring about the North of England than meets the eye

Chris Blackhurst
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there