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Japan is attempting to break the 24-year moratorium on commercial whaling
A SUNDAY TIMES investigation has exposed Japan for bribing small nations with cash and prostitutes to gain their support for the mass slaughter of whales.
The undercover investigation found officials from six countries were willing to consider selling their votes on the International Whaling Commission (IWC).
The revelations come as Japan seeks to break the 24-year moratorium on commercial whaling. An IWC meeting that will decide the fate of thousands of whales, including endangered species, begins this month in Morocco.
Japan denies buying the votes of IWC members. However, The Sunday Times filmed officials from pro-whaling governments admitting:
– They voted with the whalers because of the large amounts of aid from Japan. One said he was not sure if his country had any whales in its territorial waters. Others are landlocked.
– They receive cash payments in envelopes at IWC meetings from Japanese officials who pay their travel and hotel bills.
– One disclosed that call girls were offered when fisheries ministers and civil servants visited Japan for meetings.
Barry Gardiner, an MP and former Labour biodiversity minister, said the investigation revealed “disgraceful, shady practice”, which is “effectively buying votes”.
The reporters, posing as representatives of a billionaire conservationist, approached officials from pro-whaling countries and offered them an aid package to change their vote.
The governments of St Kitts and Nevis, the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Grenada, Republic of Guinea and Ivory Coast all entered negotiations to sell their votes in return for aid.