Major whale hunt underway despite critics
A fleet of Japanese ships embarked Sunday on a mission to kill more than 1,000 whales, despite strong criticism from environmentalists.
While environmentalists have condemned the whale hunt, government officials have said it is necessary for scientific reasons. Three catcher boats were sent out Sunday to complete the controversial mission, The Telegraph on Sunday said. The fleet also includes a huge processing ship and two spotter boats.
Despite the government's claims, Greenpeace Japan spokesman Junichi Sato said the true reason for the large-scale hunt, which is to last until April, is to obtain whale meat to meet consumer demand, the British newspaper reported.
"This is not about research," Sato said. "Most of the whale meat will end up in Japanese pubs and supermarkets. The biggest issue here is nationalistic pride. The Japanese government refuses to give it up because of criticism from outside the country."
The Telegraph said Sato's group has plans to follow the hunting fleet during its mission, which reportedly also includes targeting 50 endangered humpback whales. // Copyright 2007 by United Press International