Leading article: Beat Japan on its own terms

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

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Labour leader Ed Miliband unveils Labour's pledges carved into a stone plinth in Hastings  

Election 2015: Smash the two-party system! Smash the voting system!

Armando Iannucci
Tactical voting is a necessary evil of the current first-past-the-post system, where voters vote against what they do not want rather than in favour of what they do  

Election 2015: Voting tactically has become more fraught in new political order

Michael Ashcroft
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power