According to a telephone conversation between Wakao Hanaoka, a Greenpeace representative in Japan, and the director of Asian Trading Co. Ltd. in Japan, the main importer of whale meat from Iceland, the company will not buy any whale meat from Iceland this year.
Whaling in Iceland. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.
In the conversation, the director allegedly stated that the Japanese don’t consume much whale meat anymore and the younger generations are not interested in it. The annual consumption of whale meat in Japan is around 4,000 tons, he added.
Icelandic daily Fréttabladid has a recording of the conversation, which took place on May 7.
Kristján Loftsson, the managing director of Icelandic whaling company Hvalur hf., told the newspaper that there are plans to export to Japan the meat from all 150 fin whales, for which quota was issued this year, at least 6,000 tons.
Last year Hvalur exported around 80 tons of fin whale meat to Japan through Asian Trading. “People can debate endlessly about how much the Japanese eat every year,” Loftsson told Fréttabladid.
According to Loftsson, the price of whale meat has decreased because of the economic situation in Japan, but he is not concerned that there is no market for it. “People are not just thinking about this year but about the long term. It is expensive to get things started again after such a long time.”
Loftsson said that he had spoken with the director of Asian Trading and that he had denied having had the aforementioned conversation with Greenpeace’s Hanaoka. “If the conversation was with him, then it is something that Greenpeace has fabricated. They work like that,” Loftsson stated.
However, the individual Greenpeace claims is the director of Asian Trading has confirmed his identity with Fréttabladid, although he would not make any comments and remains anonymous throughout the newspaper’s article.
Some Greenpeace representatives, including Hanaoka, are currently in Iceland and met with Icelandic authorities yesterday. “The reason for us being here is to show the authorities that there is no market for whale meat in Japan,” Hanaoka explained.
Click here to read more about whaling in Iceland.