Friday, December 9, 2011

Japan funding whaling hunt with disaster budget - 9th Dec 2011

Japan is spending 2.3 billion yen ($29 million) from its supplementary budget for tsunami reconstruction to fund the country's annual whaling hunt in the Antarctic Ocean, a fisheries official confirmed Thursday.

Tatsuya Nakaoku, a Fisheries Agency official in charge of whaling, defended the move, saying the funding helps support Japan's whaling industry as a whole, including some whaling towns along the devastated northeastern coast. One ship on the hunt is based in Ishinomaki, a town hit badly by the March 11 tsunami, he said.

The budget request was made to beef up security and maintain the "stable operation" of Japan's research whaling, he said, which has faced increasingly aggressive interference from boats with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

Conservationist group Greepeace blasted the funding move, claiming it was siphoning money away from disaster victims. Read More