Thursday 19 Jul 2018 | 01:00 | SYDNEY
Thursday 19 Jul 2018 | 01:00 | SYDNEY

Reader riposte: Japan and whales


Sam Roggeveen


13 January 2010 10:14

Ashley Murtha responds to a previous reader riposte:

Having spent some time living with a Japanese family and in one instance experiencing a light-hearted interrogation regarding Australia's affiliation with anti-whaling activities, I found it quite surprising to read Richard Green's response that suggested this issue is largely ignored in Japan.

Using my modest command of Japanese, I decided to run a search for relevant articles on Yomiuri, the website for one of the most circulated newspapers in Japan. The search revealed that Yomiuri has run five articles relating to anti-whaling activities in the past two weeks. Of these, three were reports of the Ady Gill collision, the other two reporting on the 'sabotage' efforts of the Ady Gill and Sea Shepherd prior to the collision.

While five articles in two weeks may not compare favourably to the ABC News website's total of twenty-six whaling articles in a similar time-frame, a couple of points should be considered:

  1. January is the Australian media's slow month (as Richard noted) whereas the Japanese media is consistently spoilt for choice in an environment boasting the exciting neighbours of China and North Korea, a new left-learning political party in power after an almost unbroken 54 years of conservative rule, and a population six times that of Australia who engage in the world's second largest economy. 
  2. This issue has proven ripe for exploitation in Australia for political point-scoring (eight of the twenty-six ABC articles on whaling focus on party politics), whereas in Japan political alignment regarding this issue remains firmly in place.

So perhaps the Japanese are not as unaware of the topic as it may appear.