Enviromentalists, especially those against whaling or even the maiming of whales, literally had escalating sea battles with Japan’s fleets of whaling boats in international waters. Enviromental activists from Sea Sheperd, an agency for the conservation of the population of whales, have used a substance of butter or butyric acid against the decks of Japanese whaling boats and have shot paint balls at the ships as well. Japanese whaling ships after being interrupted in their business, had equipped water cannons in order to drive off anti-whaling activists.
Sea Sheperd has a long history of famous activism, most prominently ramming a Portugese whaler in the 1970′s. Its activists are known to be highly dedicated to their work to felicitate the population of whales, this can be seen from the incident two years ago when activists hand-cuffed themselves to a Japanese whaling ship and refused to leave.
Today, the ‘whale wars’ took a new turn as New Zealander Peter Bethune was accused of trespassing onto a Japanese whaling ship named Shonan Maru 2 from a jet ski, after his boat in collision with the whaling ship sank, and declaring a citizen’s arrest of the crew. As of now, Peter Bethune is entitled to meet with a lawyer and a New Zealand diplomat. It remains to be seen if this can legally be considered a trespass. Japanese media have pounced on this latest news and public popularity of the anti-whaling activist is not at all positive. Japan insists that whaling is an important and cultural tradition which was brought on by Commodore’s Perry’s entry into Japan marking a significant moment in the Meiji Restoration.
In addition to the charges of accusation, the Japanese Institute of Cetacean Research (Official branch of Japan’s Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries) further blamed such activists and their agencies such as Sea Sheperd to be obstructing important whale research.
Commercial whale hunting or “whaling” was suspended by the International Whaling Commission in 1986. However, there was a loophole in which the Japanese government could easily use: whaling is allowed if done for scientific research. This loophole proves to be deadly for as many as 1,000 whales every year, when Japanese fleets of whaling ships hunt “for science”. The Japanese government has set up a scientific facade in order to hunt whales legally, it is obvious enough that 1,000 dead whales of an endangered species aren’t needed every year to conduct simple research. Whaling has been long used in history to gather blubber of kinds for oil and other whale parts, the ships used were/are considered to be one of the most unproductive and hazardous ‘tools’ to garner resources as crews toss over “unneeded” parts of dead whales into the sea.