In Japan, two groups of demonstrators met outside the Japanese Foreign Office, on Wednesday morning (19 December) as the International Whaling Commission opened a two day meeting.
In Japan, two groups of demonstrators met outside the Japanese Foreign Office, on Wednesday morning (19 December) as the International Whaling Commission opened a two day meeting. One group called for the preservation of whales and the other representing the Japanese whaling industry demonstrated to continue the lucrative annual catch.
SYNOPSIS: Conservationists from Britain, Canada and the United States demonstrated against the commercial killing of whales at the start of a two-day meeting of the International Whaling Commission, (IWC). They unfurled banners pleading with Japanese Prime Minister Masayoshi Chira to save the giant mammals. They believe that fishermen are endangering the sperm whale species.
John Perry, a member of the Greenpeace organisation, actively involved in preventing the killing of what the group considers endangered species, was taken into custody after floating a large whale-shaped balloon in a section of the former Imperial Palace. Police said they were questioning.
The Japanese Seamen's Union was represented by more than a hundred pro-whaling demonstrators who oppose any cut in Japan's catch quota. The Soviet Union and Japan, the only nations hunting sperm whales, caught six and a half thousand in the North Pacific this year.
The seventeen-nation International Whaling Commission is currently meeting in Tokyo to set catch limits for sperm whales in the North Pacific for 1979, after the annual meeting in London last June failed to reach an agreement. Representatives of international environmentalist organisations said a United Nations proposal for a ten-year long moratorium of the commercial killing of whales was not enough. They called on the Tokyo meeting to set zero quotas. The environmentalists maintain that the sperm whale population will take thirty-five years to recover from the current killing quotas.
There were two groups demonstrating outside the Gaimusho (Japanese Foreign Office) this morning as the International Whaling Commission opened a two-day meeting. One group of demonstrators included Japanese and foreigners, and called for the preservation of whales. The other group, representing the Japanese whaling industry, demonstrated under the call "Don't kill off the whaling industry!" The demonstrations were all peaceful.