JIN-373 -- A Whale of a Mystique Trumps Science

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T H E J @ P A N I N C N E W S L E T T E R

Commentary on the Week's Business, Technology and Cultural News
Issue No. 373
Tuesday June 27, 2006 TOKYO

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@@ VIEWPOINT: A Whale of a Mystique Trumps Science

== Entrepreneur Association of Tokyo - July 11th - Speaker: Tim Romero ==

Presentation Title: "The Micro-Multinational Corporation - How outsourcing
and offshoring can be a viable strategy for small- and medium-sized
businesses." Tim will be discussing the alignment of interests,
communication, and quality control not only for software development, but
for task and process outsourcing in general. And perhaps, most important,
how to tell if outsourcing will actually save you money.
Date/Time: Tuesday, July 11th 7:00 pm
Location: City Club of Tokyo - Maple Room (Canadian Embassy Complex)
Language: English
Website: http://www.ea-tokyo.com
Email: info@ea-tokyo.com
@@ VIEWPOINT: A Whale of a Mystique Trumps Science

At its annual meeting, held at St Christopher and Nevis, the International
Whaling Commission adopted on June 18 by a difference of a single vote
a declaration that in effect called for the resumption of commercial
whaling. It was the first declaration in favor of whaling since the
moratorium adopted in 1982.

Three-fourths of member countries must approve a measure for it to be
adopted; so the recent declaration is toothless. However, it is significant
in representing the first time the pro-whaling faction outnumbered the
anti-whaling faction.

The shift among member countries is largely due to scientific
evidence that stocks of several whale species, including minke
whales, razorbacks, sei whales and grayheads, have sufficiently
recovered. Even the World Wildlife Federation is calling for the
adoption of strictly regulated whaling, because more and more
marine resources are ending up inside the whale.

Take, for example, the spotlined sardine, an inexpensive, tasty fish that
is a favorite of the Japanese. Recently it has jumped in price to over a
thousand yen. Some observers blame the dramatic decline in
spotlined sardine stocks on an increase in the number of whales.
Although the nonbinding declaration to lift the moratorium on
whaling was decided by a single vote, it is emblematic of a global
shift in attitude driven by recognition that the leviathan has
the potential to ravish other fishery products.

Yet certain anti-whaling countries have refused to participate in any
conference for exploring ways to revive commercial whaling. According to
the "Nikkei," a major daily, a leader of one anti-whaling country
remarked, "We won't permit the taking of a single whale."

In response, Japan has called on other pro-whaling countries to hold an
international conference outside the IWC framework.

A century and a half earlier Herman Melville wrote, "If that double-bolted
land, Japan, is ever to become hospitable, it is the whale-ship alone to
whom the credit will be due; for already she is on the threshold."

Indeed the interests of American ships in Japanese whaling grounds helped
launch Commodore Perry's expedition to Japan in the mid-19th century. By
an ironic twist of history, the whale, which had brought Japan and America
together, now may divide them, for the US is one of whaling's most
vociferous opponents.

In detailing the struggle between the great white whale and Captain Ahab,
"Moby Dick," Melville's magnificent prose poem, reflects Western culture's
mystical awe of the cetacean. That mystique is now trumping science.

-- Burritt Sabin

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