As most foreigners will be aware, whaling is a hot topic abroad but is not covered as much here in Japan. The common opinion abroad seems to be that all Japanese people eat whale on a regular basis and despite knowing the humpbacks are endangered, couldn’t care less. The Sun, the UK’s best selling newspaper, shouts the headline: “If whales could scream,” with words like “slay”, “hunt” and “slaughter” used repeatedly throughout the article.
A quick search in The Australian newspaper brings up just under 600 articles about whaling in Japan, with PM Yasuo Fukuda accused of “sticking to his scientific story.”
Likewise, the Washington Post has a barrage of anti-whaling articles at least a couple of times a week. The BBC also has a great article on “Understanding Japan’s whaling ethics” – a pretty balanced piece which tries to understand a pro-whalers point of view, more so than any other western article.
All this controversy in the Western media, is damaging Japan’s reputation and giving the image that Japan is deliberately trying to drive endangered species to extinction as a result of pure greed. Yet the Japanese media remain mostly oblivious to the evil glare of the Western eye. If more focus was brought to the issue within Japan, and the public could know exactly what kind of damage its reputation is enduring, anti-whaling sentiment will most likely grow here for the sake of diplomatic relations, if not for any ethical or moral reasons so repeatedly expressed in the West.
The Washington Post:
Other posts by Anna: