Japan, which has continually subverted an international ban placed on whaling 20 years ago, has been slowly gaining clout within the International Whaling Commission (IWC), the body that put the ban in place. It's done this in part by getting numerous small countries, some without direct access to an ocean, to side with it on the commission in exchange for financial incentives.
This week the IWC held a vote to end the whaling ban, and while supporters were shy of the 75% margin needed to do so, they did garner a considerable 50%+ showing for their side. Japan likely knew they would not yet overturn the ban, but, like those American consternatives who recently tried to push through a gay marriage amendment, they did it to publicly reaffirm where they stand on the issue.
Japan's influence in the IWC has an analogue to Republicants' influence in the US. After years in the minority, the latter regained control of the US government, and began to bring to fruition what many people had long feared. They looked upon the beauty of nature and could only see its profit potential - as in the case of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and too many others to mention.
Both parties share the goal of gutting (in Japan's case, there is a literal dimension to this) longstanding, sensible protections of our natural world at the behest of big business. Both need to be prevented from doing so.
Japan is by no means starving; they are merely eager to find something else to put on a bun and sell in a fast-food joint. Much of the whale meat Japan now acquires through a shady "research" loophole in the ban ends up commercially available - i.e. sold for profit - in Japan's restaurants and grocery stores. Apparently the research was regarding how to commoditize another part of nature.
Japan is joined in this "vital research" by Iceland. Norway makes no pretense of conducting research, and continues to kill whales despite the ban. But it's Japan that's clearly steering the IWC ship back in the direction of our mammalian cousins. (Where is a pilfered Klingon ship when you need one?)
Some of the IWC countries voting with Japan are popular Caribbean tourist destinations, and there has been some talk of boycotting travel to those locales. As they know where their bread and butter comes from, some of the countries have already labeled such a boycott "economic terrorism." Terrorists being the popular villain of the day, you see, it's "in" to call anyone with whom you disagree a "terrorist."
It's like the Hitler thing, where political enemies are compared to Hitler. Exactly like the Hitler thing, actually, in that it's a bunch of shit. If tourists who decide to skip the Caribbean are really terrorists, so was Rosa Parks and the bus-boycotters she inspired. And we know that wasn't the case. Nope, the Caribbean contingent are just smoking too much ganga. Or maybe too little. Blaze that shit up, mon.
There's no real call to action from me here; I merely wanted to make others aware that bloody atrocities may soon be widespread on our oceans once again, and to register my disapproval. As when I took Canada to task for hunting seals and China to task for eating dogs, I expect and welcome comments about my cultural ignorance, the plentiful supply of animals, etc.
Oh, I do feel so very ashamed for my compassion.