Japan Using Earthquake Recovery Funds to Protect Whaling Fleet

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Yesterday, Japan sent out its annual whaling fleet. It's heading for Antarctica with a mission to catch more than 900 minke whales and 50 fin whales. But there's some extra outrage this year because Japan is using public funding that was earmarked for earthquake and tsunami reconstruction to instead boost security for the whaling fleet.

According to Greenpeace, the government used 2.28 billion yen (about $30 million) from the earthquake recovery fund to pay for this year's whale hunt—on top of the millions in existing subsidies that Japan pays to keep the industry alive.

According to AFP, Japan is justifying the extra spending on security "to ensure safer hunts, and ultimately help coastal towns that largely depend on whaling to recover from the March 11 disasters." The Guardian reported the fisheries agency said one of the towns destroyed by the tsunami was a whaling port.

The Guardian quotes Greenpeace Japan director Junichi Sato, "It is absolutely disgraceful for the Japanese government to pump yet more taxpayer money on an unneeded, unwanted and economically unviable whaling programme, when funds are desperately needed for recovery efforts."

Tags: Antarctica | Japan | Oceans | Whales