Six months ago two Japanese whaling crew members reported to Australia’s ABC Foreign Affairs program that other crew members were taking whale meat that legally belongs to the Japanese tax payer for personal profit.
Today, the Japanese Fishery Agency has admitted to the fact, confirming that they had reprimanded five of its officials for taking more than $3000 AUD worth of whale meat.
“I deeply apologise for this act in which officials took whale meat,” said the Fishery Agency spokesman Toyohiko Ota. “It’s an act for which we will lose credibility. We will take prevention measures so it will never happen again,”
The allegation itself did much to undermine the Japanese “scientific” research program which requires the harpooning of many hundreds of whales. Many international organisations feel that this scientific research program is a thin veil for continued whaling for whale meat in a country which has long been eating the rare meat. However, many within Japan will willingly announce to the world that the taste of whale meat is thoroughly unpalatable, and various reports will oftentimes decry the warehouses filled with uneaten and unsold crates of whale meat.
“One crew member would take home 500 to 600 kilograms of whale meat as if it was normal,” one of the whistle blowers said. “That’s a little too much to eat at home. Some people give it to their neighbours, others are obviously selling it. I heard a story that one crewman built a house from selling whale meat.”
Sadly, the crew members are actually facing jail time for their efforts to expose the illegal distribution and sale of whale meat.
While the agency has only admitted to $3000 worth of whale meat taken, Greenpeace and the two Japanese whistle blowers believe that is a fraction of the total amount of meat that has been stolen.