I was surprised and disappointed to hear that Japan has started whaling again. As a developed country, Japan has a responsibility to look after the marine ecosystem.
I guess Japan's government must be making a lot of money on whaling, and I can understand why that is important. With its ageing population and low birth rate, Japan is facing decreased productivity. While bringing economic benefits to Japan, whaling also provides jobs to a lot of people. But whaling damages the marine ecosystem. Whales help maintain a stable food chain. They ensure that certain marine species do not overpopulate the ocean.
I think that if we want to persuade Japan to stop whaling, other countries need to reduce import taxes on Japanese goods. This will help Japanese industries thrive, so that whaling becomes an insignificant aspect of the nation's economy.
Man Chi-tsun, The Chinese Foundation Secondary School
From the Editor
Thank you for your letter, Chi-tsun. Many people are quite puzzled as to why Japan insists on whaling because the whole world seems to be against it. It also seems that Japan is the only nation that does it. That's just not true. Both Norway and Iceland continue to hunt whales. Yet, for some reason, we don't see as much resistance to that, which probably fuels the Japanese feeling that the campaign is racist.
Japan loses money on whaling, the industry needs to be subsidised, and there is little or no use for whale flesh.
The ban on commercial whaling has seen some whale populations make a recovery, but the species hunted by Japan are still at risk. While commercial whale hunting is banned, Japan says it hunts for "scientific purposes".
The problem with Japan is that it doesn't just catch whales in its own waters, but also heads down south to hunt. Australia is heavily opposed to whaling, and in 2010, took Japan to the international court to stop it. The Hague ruled that Japan was not whaling "for scientific purposes" and told it to stop.
However, it did not specifically ban whaling for scientific purposes; it just made it harder for Japan to prove that what it's doing is in the name of science.