No Market for Icelandic Whale Meat in Japan - The Reykjavik Grapevine

No Market for Icelandic Whale Meat in Japan

Published June 9, 2009

Fewer and fewer Japanese eat whale meat, and there already exists a
surplus of it in frozen storage, according to Sara Holden and Wakao
Hanaoka of Greenpeace.
At a press conference yesterday, the two played a recording of and handed out a transcript of a phone conversation with Asia Trading Co. Ltd., a Japanese importer of whale meat. When the importer was told that Icelanders planned on hunting 150 fin whales for the purpose of exporting the most of the meat to Japan, the importer responded with surprise, “Really? But there’s no market in Japan.”
The importer blamed Greenpeace for the Japanese public’s waning interest in eating whale, saying that seafood and cold storage companies want nothing to do with whale meat anymore. When asked what would happen if the Icelandic whale meat were sent to Japan, the importer responded that there would be no way to sell it all.
“It would be impossible,” said the importer. “Consumption has dropped so much. There is no consumption. Why? There are many reasons. Your [anti-whaling] campaign is certainly a part of it. And the younger generation just doesn’t eat whale meat.”
The yearly consumption of every kind of whale meat in Japan is about 4,000 tonnes. The meat of 150 fin whales would equal if not exceed this, and as there is already a surplus of whale meat in frozen storage in Japan, there would be virtually no market for the product.

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