For years, pro-whaling forces and ardent anti whaling organizations in Japan and abroad have wrestled with a contentious and highly emotive issue, while proponents of whaling have sought to control the parameters of the debate by limiting it to a discussion of catchphrases such as 'sustainable use,' 'Japan's whaling traditions' and 'whale-eating culture'. Whaling in Japan seeks to broaden the terms of reference by providing a wider, objective analytic framework for examining this issue and the political actors and forces in Tokyo - the government, the bureaucracy and the Institute of Cetacean research - that create, control and implement Japan's policy and continue to shape the debate. Through the encouragement of political myths, the manipulation of public opinion and ironically, even by using the actions of the anti-whaling movement to its own advantage, pro-whaling forces have created a domestic consensus that allows Tokyo's whaling policies to continue to expand relatively unchallenged even as stockpiles of unsold whale meat build up in Japanese warehouses. Whaling in Japan focuses on the gap between the political myths and the reality of Japan's whaling policy and sheds light on seldom discussed aspects of the political and decision-making structures that support it. Morikawa also examines how Japan has used diplomacy and aid gradually to expand international support for its whaling policies at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and considers the longer term future of whaling as environmental awareness grows apace.
Jun Morikawa is a Professor in the Department of Regional Environmental Studies at Rakuno Gakuen University in Sapporo, Japan and a visiting research fellow at the University of Adelaide, Australia. He is the author of Japan and Africa: Big Business and Diplomacy (Hurst, 1997), and specializes in Japan's relations with the Third World, especially development and overseas aid.