Whale of a business

 
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

-- (Credit: K Balcomb / WWF)The resumption of commercial whaling is a longstanding Japanese demand. Even so, environmentalists were aghast when Japan's official Fisheries Agency announced its intention to sell whale meat at half its normal price. "The number of children who have never eaten whale meat is growing," blandly explained an agency official.

To usher in 1995 with a bang, the agency arranged to home-deliver whale meat, and ran special promotional campaigns to enourage big firms and individuals to buy it as year-end oseibo gifts. Capitalising on a loophole in international regulations which permits whaling for "scientific purposes", the agency is selling a part of its catch of 1,378 tonnes -- 600 gm of vacuum-packed whale meat priced at a steep us $54, and more affordable 100 gm slices at us $8.

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