Japan's Plan to Leave IWC Draws Mixed Reactions

Politics

Tokyo, Dec. 20 (Jiji Press)--Japan's decision on Thursday to leave the International Whaling Commission to resume commercial whaling has drawn mixed reactions in the country.

In the town of Taiji, the western prefecture of Wakayama, which is said to be the place of the origin of Japanese whaling, Mayor Kazutaka Sangen welcomed the government's move, saying: "We need to protect coastal whaling. We have been saying that we should leave the commission."

A male resident of the town said, "There are people who have long been waiting for a return of our old practice of giving captured whale to neighbors." He, however, was concerned about the reactions of Europe and the United States, saying: "The international opinion against antiwhaling will not change even after we leave. What we lose is great."

Municipal officials are busy gathering information at places that once prospered thanks to whaling, such as the city of Shimonoseki in the southwestern prefecture of Yamaguchi and the city of Kushiro in the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido.

"We welcome if it's is true," Shimonoseki Mayor Shintaro Maeda told a press conference. The withdrawal from the IWC, which is led by antiwhaling countries, is "unavoidable," he added.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press