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 WASHINGTON, July 2 /PRNewswire/ -- The following was issued today by

the Embassy of Japan:
 Whales are renewable living marine resources that can be a valuable protein-rich food for the people of the world. Japan looks forward to the completion of new management procedure and resumption of the harvest of the abundant minke whale based on sound, reasonable management methods. Japan opposes French proposal requesting the establishment of an Antarctic whale sanctuary.
 Recently there have been expressions in the Congress against whaling as expressed in S. Con. Res.125 and H. Con Res. 177. The following are Japanese views:
 1. We understand that different cultures may view whales differently. For example, in the United States, many believe whales are some type of special animal and its value is found in watching rather than to feed human beings.
 Many people in the world, including the Japanese people, have utilized whale meat for thousands of years. Even in America, certain Alaskans have also followed this tradition. We don't believe anyone has the right to deprive a people of their traditional food as long as these species are not endangered or threatened.
 Beef consumption is very important and traditional to the American people. However, in India the cow is sacred and it is prohibited to eat it. We don't believe Americans would accept any insistence from the government or people of India to stop beef consumption in the United States.
 2. Clearly the health of the Minke whale stocks is of great concern to Japan. Japan hopes to utilize two types of minke whale stocks under a strict management and conservation program.
 A. Antarctic Minke Whale
 1. This stock is in a very robust condition and increasing. International Whaling Commission scientists have agreed upon a estimate of 760,000 Antarctic Minke whales. Contrary to some suggestions, minke whales are drastically different from the American buffaloes of the Great Plains and they can in no way be compared on a scientific basis. Japan has no intention to harvest any depleted or threatened whale species such as blue whale.
 2. The IWC is now in the final stages of completing the revised management procedures (RMP). The RMP have been developed by IWC scientists to take the most conservative application to allowing whale harvests. The RMP is safe and the best procedure available. Under this internationally-accepted RMP, Japan would like to request the resumption of whaling for Antarctic Minke whales.
 3. Japan plans to exercise its best efforts to establish an effective enforcement and monitoring scheme for its whaling activities, consulting with other concerned nations.
 4. When the IWC adopted the moratorium on commercial whaling in 1982, its justification was the uncertain nature of the available scientific data. Since that time, Japan's scientific research has resulted in vital scientific information. Each IWC nation has the responsibility to become involved in whale research to assist in the proper conservation and management of these valuable resources.
 B. Small-Type Coastal Minke Whaling
 1. Many of Japan's small coastal communities depend greatly on small-type coastal whaling directed at minke whales. This is in many ways similar to the dependence of some small Alaskan communities. IWC scientists have agreed on a population estimate of about 25,000 minke whales in Japan's 200-mile zone and a total allowable catch of 200 whales.
 2. To assist citizens in Japan's small coastal communities, the government of Japan has requested a conservative emergency quota of 50 minke whales. Japan strongly urges the IWC to authorize a quota for small coastal communities.
 3. France has proposed the establishment of an Antarctic whale sanctuary. This proposal disregards past scientific work of the IWC and the robust condition of the minke whale stocks. Therefore, Japan strong opposes this proposal.
 4. Whales are renewable marine living resources. It is reasonable to utilize some part of their natural increase in numbers as permitted by sound science. This view is consistent with the principles of the IWC Convention and with generally accepted principles of conservation and environmental protection. Japan does not differ with worldwide accepted conservation and management ideals. Japan does find it unacceptable that some people feel compelled to try to enforce their own cultural or moral values on peoples of different traditions.
 1. Estimated Population of Whales
 Minke Whale
 Antarctic 760,000 (IWC, 1990)
 North Atlantic 99,000 (IWC, 1990)
 North Pacific 25,000 (IWC, 1991)
 Fin Whale 120,000 (NOAA)
 Sei Whale (Antarctic) 40,000 (Butterworth, 1991)
 Sperm Whale 1,810,000 (NOAA)
 Gray Whale (Eastern North Pacific) 21,000 (IWC, 1990)
 Humpback Whale (Western North Atlantic) 5,500 (IWC, 1980s)
 Bowhead Whale (Bering-Chukchi-Beanfort
 Sea) 7,500 (IWC, 1991)
 Blue Whale (Antarctic) less than 1,000 (Butterworth, 1991)
 2. Research Effort of Japan
 (A) In order to clarify the status of whale populations in the Antarctic, Japan gave an all-out support to the IDCR (International Decade of Cetacean Research) program initiated by the IWC Scientific Committee in the Antarctic. Japan has borne the cost amounting to about 1.6 million dollars annually for provision of survey vessels, research crew and cruising costs since 1978. On the basis of the findings of the survey, the Scientific Committee agreed in 1990 that the estimated number of minke whales in the Antarctic was about 760,000.
 (B) Further, Japan's research program included the catching of minke whales in the Antarctic beginning in the 1987/88 season. The goal of this research program was to clarify the status of the Antarctic minke whale stock. Scientists at the IWC have agreed that the information from the Japanese research program has been very useful and vital to the determining the population dynamics of the Antarctic minke whales.
 (C) No other country has made such a research effort.
 3. In recent years man has been recognized the great cost to the environment from raising cattle. Meat obtained from 1 minke whale is equivalent to approximately 16 head of cattle. The responsible use of marine resources, such as whales, does not carry these costly effects on the environment.
 -0- 7/2/92
 /CONTACT: Kenji Kagawa, first secretary, fisheries of the Embassy of Japan, 202-939-6727, or fax, 202-265-9473/ CO: Embassy of Japan ST: District of Columbia IN: SU :

LD-KD -- NY078 -- 6404 07/02/92 20:00 EDT
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