Thursday, December 27, 2007

Cetacean discrepancies

This is just a general shout-out inquiry--but does anyone know why non-Japanese sources say the pelagic whaling fleet is out to catch 935 Minke whales this season while domestic news sources say the fleet seeks only 850 Minke?

I suppose I should put the question to David@Tokyo--who has got to have one of the Japan-based English-language blogosphere's most esoteric specializations--but perhaps someone else knows.

For the record, the Saturday morning papers noted the two-year postponement of the humpback whale (zatōkujira) hunt in the following ways:

The Asahi Shimbun - p. 1 long article

Mainichi Shimbun - p. 1 short article with supporting material on Australian attitudes toward the resumption of hunting of humpbacks on p. 7

Yomiuri Shimbun - p. 2 short article

Sankei Shimbun - p. 3 short article on Australian government plans to dispatch surveillance ship; p. 3 micro article (a mere 140 kanji spaces) on government postponement of hunt

Nihon Keizai Shimbun - p. 42 short article

I leave it to the reader to make his/her own conclusions about the relationship between political leanings and coverage.

Interestingly, or perhaps not, not a single article made mention of the estimated world population of humpbacks--or any other whale species, for that matter.


Jun Okumura said...

It's very difficult to find out when the MAFF webpage on the "latest news" on whaling ends on 17 Nov. 2005.

Christopher said...

David is the PR fart catcher who is running the English media press relations for the Japanese government sponsored Institute of Cetacean killing (sorry, how could I forget "research"!).

Jun Okumura said...

Here you are. It's 850 +- 10%. The Nihon Hogei Kenkyusho website itself appears to be totally disabled.

David said...


As Jun Okumura notes, the official quota is 850 minkes, with a +\- allowance of 10%.

The western media is largely spoon-fed it's information from NGO groups that regard whaling as an environmental issue. These groups like to talk about "worst case" scenarios, and hence quote the extreme high end of the range (935), rather than the low end (765).

In Japan, the mid-point is used. The Japanese media has less reason to distort the figures I guess.

MTC said...

Okumura-san and David -

Thank you both.