Aliwan Fiesta 2024
DZRH Logo
Japan whaler operator says it has no plan to hunt in Antarctic
Japan whaler operator says it has no plan to hunt in Antarctic
Asia
Japan whaler operator says it has no plan to hunt in Antarctic
by DZRH News23 May 2024
FILE PHOTO: The whaling mother ship Kangei Maru is seen during its launch ceremony in Shimonoseki, western Japan August 31, 2023, in this photo taken by Kyodo. Mandatory credit Kyodo via REUTERS/File Photo

By Kiyoshi Takenaka and Tom Bateman

TOKYO (Reuters) - The operator of Japan's first domestically-built whaling mothership in more than seven decades said on Thursday it had no plans to send the whaler to the Antarctic Ocean, although the new vessel is capable of reaching the region.

The 7.5 billion yen ($48 million) Kangei Maru, whose construction was completed less than two months ago, has a cruising range of 7,000 nautical miles.

"This ship is designed to be able to go to the Antarctic Ocean. But we won't be going to the Antarctic as long as we are engaged in commercial whaling," Kyodo Senpaku President Hideki Tokoro said, citing the heavy costs for the long voyage.

Advertisement

Tokoro was speaking to reporters after a media tour inside the country's only whaling mothership, which made a port call in Tokyo on Thursday on her way to the maiden hunting expedition in waters off northern Japan.

He added, however, that the company was ready to dispatch the Kangei Maru, a 112.6-metre (369-foot) ship that will soon be equipped with drones to search for whales, to the Antarctic Ocean if the government ordered it to do so.

"If Japan falls into a food crisis and the government gives us an order to secure protein no matter what, we are ready," he said.

Japan, which says eating whale meat is part of its culture, long campaigned without success for the International Whaling Commission to allow commercial whaling.

Advertisement

The island nation withdrew from the international body in 2019 and resumed commercial whaling in its territorial waters and the exclusive economic zone.

The government is now planning to add large fin whales to its list of commercial whaling species, and the Kangei Maru is capable of bringing aboard such large-sized whales, weighing as much as 70 tons, alarming animal rights groups.

"There is no nutritional, scientific or moral justification for killing these magnificent ocean giants," Humane Society International's director of wildlife programmes Adam Peyman said in a media release. "So the launch of the Kangei Maru is a chilling sight at a time when the imperative to conserve rather than kill whales is so urgent."

($1 = 156.6700 yen)

Advertisement

(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Alex Richardson)

Share
Related Topics
listen Live
DZRH News Live Streaming
Home
categories
RHTV Link
Latest
Most Read