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WDC in Japan – Part 5: The meaning of whaling

WDC in Japan – Part 5: The meaning of whaling

Japanese whaling ship

Whaling has a centuries-old history in Japan and has deep roots in the country’s identity. But today, whale meat products are a rare find. After returning from Taiji, the next leg of my journey sought to answer an important question: is whaling an indispensable part of Japanese culture or is it just a cruel vestige upheld by a minority?

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WDC in Japan – Part 4: A journey to Taiji’s killing cove

Taiji's cove with boats rounding up dolphins to be slaughtered or sold to aquraiums

Every year in Taiji, Japan, 500 to 600 dolphins of various species are killed, or captured and sold to zoos and aquariums worldwide. I had to visit the home of the notorious ‘cove’ to understand why and how this is still happening, and what needs to be done to end it forever. But I wasn’t prepared for what I witnessed.

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WDC in Japan – Part 3: Restoring freedom to dolphins in South Korea

Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin © Mike Bossley/WDC

In my last blog, I shared my spectacular encounter with digital whales and dolphins, now I want to tell you about the real dolphins I had the chance to marvel at in the wild from Jeju Island in South Korea. The best part of the story is that some of them were once in captivity but have been successfully released into the wild thanks to the tireless work of an organisation called Hot Pink Dolphins. Today, these dolphins swim wild and free again, reunited with their original family. Since South Korea is only a stone’s throw away from Japan, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to meet the team responsible.

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WDC in Japan – Part 2: Digital dolphins

Welcome to the second chapter of my incredible journey to build alliances in Japan. As promised in my last blog, I am going to tell you about my experience at a magical exhibition. This opportunity came about through an invitation from one of the many inspiring individuals I had the privilege of meeting in Japan…

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Japanese whaling ships leave ports to hunt for whales

Two commercial whaling vessels departed on the 10th and 11th of June from the Japanese ports of Shimonoseki and Innoshima to kill up to 187 Bryde’s whales and 25 sei whales. Japan resumed commercial whaling three years ago after leaving the International Whaling Commission (IWC – the body that regulates whaling) and following widespread international…

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One year on – Japan’s return to whaling hurts us all

Japanese whalers have slaughtered 223 whales in the 12 months since the Japanese government announced that it would resume industrial whaling, a decision which marine charity Whale and Dolphin Conservation believes will contribute to the climate emergency. Japan’s withdrawal from the International Whaling Commission (the body that regulates whale hunting) at Christmas in 2018, was criticised…

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Japan’s government agrees to more funding for whale hunts

Japan’s Diet (parliament) has passed a law to help support commercial whaling through increased funding despite the falling demand for meat in the country. The government has said that it will promote the consumption of whale meat in schools as well as financially help the country’s whaling industry in securing hunting ships and crew. This…

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Will Japan’s new emperor bring new hope for whales?

This week, Japan’s Emperor Akihito offered his formal abdication to the Japanese people and delivered his last public address as emperor. He is the first Japanese monarch to stand down in more than 200 years and came to the decision to abdicate after concluding that he was unable to serve the people of Japan in…

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