Thursday, 26 January 2012

Japan diverting tsunami funds to support whale hunt.

Japan caused outrage as authorities confirmed it is diverting millions of pounds tagged for the reconstruction of its tsunami-devastated coast to protect its annual Antarctic whale-hunt. Roughly 2.28bn yen (£19m) from a reconstruction fund for areas badly hit by the crippling 11 March earthquake, tsunami and ensuing nuclear disaster will be used to beef up security for the Japanese whaling fleet, which left port under heavy guard in December.
The money is part of about 500bn yen in "fisheries-related spending" green-lighted by parliament. Japan's Fisheries Agency justified the decision by saying that "safer hunts" would ultimately help whaling towns along the coast to recover. Conservationists immediately condemned the plan. "Not only is the whaling industry unable to survive without large increases in government handouts, now it's siphoning money away from the victims of the 11 March triple disaster, at a time when they need it most," said Junichi Sato, executive director of Greenpeace Japan. "This is a new low for the shameful whaling industry and the callous politicians who support it".
The whaling boats left in secrecy from Shimonoseki in southern Japan, guarded by an unspecified number of coast guard officers, a patrol ship and other "security measures," according to local media reports. The fleet's target catch is said to be about 900 minke whales and 50 fin whales.

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