Magazine article Earth Island Journal

"No Sanctuary for Whales" as Vote-Buying Scandal Rocks Whaling Commission

Magazine article Earth Island Journal

"No Sanctuary for Whales" as Vote-Buying Scandal Rocks Whaling Commission

Article excerpt

UK -- An attempt to secure new whale-safe sanctuaries in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans foundered during the July 200! meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) as Japan and its pro-hunt allies (Norway and Iceland, plus six Caribbean nations) voted to defeat the plan. Twenty countries voted to create a South Pacific whale sanctuary while 19 countries supported creation of a South Atlantic sanctuary. The Pacific sanctuary would have protected the breeding waters of 11 species of great whales. The US delegation voted in favor of creating both sanctuaries.

Japan's rampant vote-buying exploded on the floor of the IWC on July 23, during a debate on the "undue interference or coercion" of weak countries by powerful ones. New Zealand skewered Japan in a scathing statement by Minister of Conservation Sandra Lee. Japan's Deputy Commissioner Masayuki Komatsu (who recently made the incriminating admissions of Japan's vote-buying practices) angrily claimed that "the statement of New Zealand is full of lies," but he failed to name any.

Japan's use of tens of millions of dollars of development aid to buy the votes of poor countries such as St. Vincent, St. Lucia, Grenada, Antigua, Dominica, St. Kitts and Solomon Islands was the target of a resolution on transparency sponsored by New Zealand, Italy, US, the UK, Australia, Netherlands, Mexico and Argentina. …

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