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

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: Science versus religion in the three-parent baby debate

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Kylie has helped to boost viewing figures for the talent show  

When an Aussie calls you a ‘bastard’, you know you’ve arrived

Howard Jacobson
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee