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Cultural barriers block anti-whaling lobby
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Michael DanaherMichael Danaher
Arguably, cultural values and preferences determine Japan’s political goals on whaling. Japan endures considerable foreign criticism for its pro-whaling stance, and it is arguably cultural traditions, with their link to Japan’s reliance on seafood, which both sustain Japan in its unpopular stance, and oppose the arguments for it to cease. The official Japanese view is that whaling is a culturally embedded practice going back more than 500 years, and is symbolic of its dependence on seafood as its main source of protein, so it is not prepared to allow any country to erode this vestige of self-determination. Japan’s ideological view goes further by claiming that the anti-whaling “philosophy” (killing whales is wrong because they are sentient beings) jeopardizes the principle of sustainable use and allows the whims of some to dictate what kind of food is available to the people of the world when marine resources are diminishing.