Posts Tagged ‘Japan’

Fewer Japanese Eating Seafood

March 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Today’s Wall Street Journal told an interesting story about Japanese people that surprised me:

they are eating less and less seafood.

Though it has nothing to do with preserving ocean biodiversity, common sense, or ethics, I can’t help but be happy about this. The recent failure by UN nations to ban the trade of bluefin tuna at CITES (thanks almost exclusively to the shady lobbying efforts of Japan’s delegates) had me feeling that things were looking worse than ever for our invisible underwater friends. The fact that Japanese tastes are changing gives me hope. Of course there is a down side…

Young Japanese are turning away from fish increasingly because they are getting hooked to a salty, beefy western diet of hamburgers and chicken. Housewives are turning to these meats because they are easier to cook. In response, the fish industry in Japan is desperately trying to woo people back to fish flesh.

Read the WSJ article and watch the related video here.


Ban Japan

February 25, 2010 2 comments

Big Fish. AP photo

That’s it. I’ve had it up to here with Japan. And I’m going to do something about it. I have decided to stop buying Japanese products of any sort until their government decides to stop whaling, respect conservationist fishing guidelines, and show some respect to the international community who are getting increasingly fed up with their arrogance.

This may sound misguided and possibly xenophobic, but it seems rational to me. As long as this country’s government decides to openly reject pleas from other countries to stop treating our oceans and seas like their own god-given playground, I will avoid their national products like the plague. Luckily, I’m not into anime and I don’t play video games anymore. But this means I will probably never buy a Toyota again (I currently own a ’94 Corolla), and it has nothing to do with unintended acceleration. No more cell phones made in Japan; luckily Blackberry (Canada), Samsung (Korea), Nokia (Finland), and several others are still game. Let’s see, what else to avoid… Here’s a list:

Nintendo, Honda, Sony, Hitachi, Panasonic, Toshiba, Fujifilm, Mitsubishi, Sanyo, A Bathing Ape, Bridgestone, Canon, Capcom, Isuzu, Kenwood, Kyocera, Konami, Mazda, Nissan, Olympus, Sanrio, Sega, Seiko, Shimano, Square Enix, Subaru, Suzuki, TDK, Toshiba, Yamaha

Some of those might hurt someday, but mostly I think I can easily live without those companies. This also means I may have to give up on a lifelong dream of someday visiting Tokyo, and possibly some things I have not thought about yet. But just like going vegan, this feels right.

I know, these companies have nothing to do with whaling, overfishing, capturing dolphins for captivity or slaughter, or any of that (other than making the fishing equipment perhaps), so why punish them? Hear me out. This is something I can do. I can consciously avoid Japanese products, and be vocal about it, as a way to economically punish a sophisticated modern nation which has repeatedly shown itself to be arrogant and completely disrespectful of non-human life. Every time a new story pops up about Japan accusing Sea Shepherd of endangering their poor “scientist” whalers, or Japan says they will ignore a ban on the Bluefin tuna trade, or Japan says that we Westerners are threatening their culture and way of life, I see how they just do not give a shit. Not only that, it seems they think the rest of the world are a bunch of idiots. If you saw The Cove, you may remember footage of Japan’s delegate to the International Whaling Commission telling the other delegates about how whales are supposedly depleting fish stocks (it couldn’t be humans!), and how they have reduced the “time-to-death” in their “scientific” whaling “research” (according to them). He says these ridiculous things with a straight face to people who understand and oppose whaling. It’s a slap in the face.

So. I don’t feel I am being xenophobic in declaring that I will not buy Japanese products. I feel the Japanese are the villains in all of this. They see their cultural values as being above everybody else’s, and seem willing to stick to those values at the risk of fishing endangered species to extinction, brutally killing as many majestic whales as possible, and pissing off conservationists. Their approach to foreign policy in regards to these matters is basically: “Screw you. I do what I want.”

So, other than going vegan and saying no to Japanese products, what can you do to try to get Japan to take it down a notch? I would recommend:

  • Do not visit Sea World or aquariums that keep dolphins or whales in captivity. Most captive dolphins are caught on the shores of Japan, and by supporting that captivity you would be justifying the horrific dolphin slaughter in Taiji. If you love ocean life, do not support their capture and exploitation. I believe aquariums also perpetuate the widespread delusion that animals are below us, and that we have the right to exploit them however we want.
  • Support the Sea Shepherd Conservationist Society. They are on the front lines of the war against Japanese whaling. Maybe their tactics seem juvenile and ineffective at times, but they are bringing this issue to light, and risking their lives to spare every whale life they can.
  • Put this widget on your Facebook and write a letter. See The Cove. Support filmmaking that exposes those who try to hide.
  • Tell your friends about overfishing and how Bluefin tuna may soon be added to the endangered species list. *Whaa-whaaaa…. Debbie Downer*- I know, but people gotta learn somehow.

Kevin Rudd gets serious about whaling?

February 19, 2010 Leave a comment


Australia’s prime minister Kevin Rudd, and the country’s government, have been criticized repeatedly by activist groups like Sea Shepherd over the years for avoiding taking a strong stance against Japan’s whaling practices. Though it is the country nearest the Southern Ocean hunting grounds, where the whaling activity takes place, Australia has been reluctant to risk the friendly economic partnerships it has with Japan by showing any opposition to what most of the world views as illegal whaling.

According to a new story published today (which I noticed through the “whaling” trending link on Yahoo), Rudd is finally getting serious about the issue. He is apparently living up to one of his campaign promises from two years ago and threatening Japan with international court action if they do not respond to diplomatic talks on the issue. He promises to make progress with Japan or take them to court before the next whaling season starts (though the current season is still going).

Hopefully this gets us somewhere. It looks a bit like political posturing, but I’m happy to see a world leader addressing the issue of whaling. It gives anti-whaling activists a bit more legtimacy and maybe even some hope.

Categories: Culture Tags: , , ,

This is Still Happening

November 21, 2009 Leave a comment

AFP/HO/File photo

Modern whaling: why I lost all respect for Japan. I used to be a fan, really. Nintendo, crazy style, a feisty football team- Japan seemed like a cool country to a teenager. But now I realize they are the world’s worst offenders when it comes to overfishing and the ridiculous slaughter of whales. Yes, this is still happening.

Godspeed and good luck to the Steve Irwin and its crew this year.