Before this incident, Japan has been trying to position itself as a global leader of environmental peace-maker rhetorically.
But if Japan's own contribution to its domestic environmental impacts, we find out that there are at least five categories or key areas where Japan excels with a lot of scopes to be desired for in the context of environmental green peace. These five major areas are the promotion of high technology, deforestation, foreign direct investment, official development assistance and over-fishing.
In the context of over-fishing the prime concern of the world right now is the problem of whaling. In Eco Pre Meeting, Issue 1, it has been reported that the Japanese government has thrown down the gauntlet to the IWC by proposing to expand its so-called "scientific" whaling. Next in line for slaughter are sperm whales, the huge and endangered species immortalized by Melville in Moby Dick, and Bryde's whales. This is on top of the more 500 mink whales they kill annually. Although commercial whaling was banned by the Commission in 1986, Japan has killed mink whales in the Antarctic since 1987 and in the North Pacific since 1994. Under a loophole in the IWC Convention, countries need only inform the Commission of their plans to kill whales for scientific purposes. The IWC Scientific Committee has regularly declared that Japan's proposed research provides little or no information that would contribute to the proper management of whale populations. And the full Commission has repeatedly urged Japan to refrain from granting themselves research permits for such whaling. Nevertheless, Japan has continued to kill whales and sell the meat commercially. Yet the killing goes on.
More recently, (May 11, 2006) Japan announced that "Japan has announced a new marketing push for its most unwanted export: whale meat. A new company, with a sales target of 1000 tonnes per year, started works a few days ago. But finding someone, anyone, to buy it will be a challenge. Domestic demand is at a historic low. Japan's stockpile of frozen whale meat was a record 4800 tones last August, unofficial reports say. And that was before the most recent season when more than 850 mink whales, each weighing about 10 tones, were caught in the Southern Ocean. The decision by Japan's whale research body, the Institute of Cetacean Research, to set up a company to find new markets comes a month after the country's second-largest seafood company, Nissui, said that it would abandon its whale meat canning business." (Cameron, 3)
But despite all these Japan keeps on the trade of whale killing under disguise of scientific operations. Japan says that it does not have a commercial whaling program and that what is sold at Tokyo's famous fish market is a sensible use of the byproduct of scientific research into whale biology and migration. Opponents say that killing whales for research is unnecessary and that Japan is using a loophole to circumvent a 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling. (Cameron, 3)
A lot of organizations from all over the world from countries like Canada and Australia are working vigorously to put an end to this trade by boycotting Japanese product and Japanese companies like Mitsubishi. Japan continues to kill whales under the name of "research". However, it is not really research. Half the whale meat sold