Thursday, April 03, 2008


Reuters reports today that there is concern at the highest level in Japan about the fact that the country's Overseas Development Assistance ranking has gone down from # Three to # Five. It is at odds with the image Prime Minister Fukuda is hoping to give of his country while he chairs the G8 this year.

I've got an idea for Mr. Fukuda.

I would like to respectfully submit that Mr. Fukuda could tell his Foreign Ministry and the Japanese Fisheries Agency to stop wasting the millions of dollars they're using to subsidize dozens of small countries for them to join their plight in favour of the resumption of commercial whaling at the International Whaling Commission (IWC). Instead of telling these poor countries (including landlocked countries such as Mali or Mongolia!) that their food security is in danger because hungry whales are going to swallow their fish stocks unless they're culled, the Japanese Government could use this money for something truly meaningful to these small countries.

With Pew we've helped create a better political climate to find a lasting solution to the international controversy over commercial whaling, and discussions are now on-going. It would help though, if Japan agreed to observe a moratorium on whale policy-related subsidies to poor countries, while these discussions are taking place. It would be healthy if supporting whaling stopped being in all circumstances a conditionality for Japanese ODA.

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