Ask many Japanese about whaling and they explain it’s part of their culture. After all, Japan is surrounded by the ocean and whaling and fishing have been part of Japan for many centuries.
During a recent visit to Japan, several Japanese friends and colleagues were puzzled, indeed annoyed, by Western media coverage of Japan’s scientific whaling in Antarctic waters earlier this year and thought the stories were hostile and uninformed.
To them, stopping whaling would be akin to Australians being forced to stop summer barbecues, Inuits from hunting seals, or Germans from drinking beer during Oktoberfest.
But to many Westerners, the images of whales being harpooned under the guise of science means the practice should be stopped, particularly since some of the meat ends up for sale in special whale meat shops and restaurants in Japan.
What do you think? Are anti-whaling nations such as Australia being hypocritical when thousands of iconic kangaroos are culled each year, as some in Japan point out?