Tokyo. Three-quarters of more than 1,200 tons of meat from whales caught by Japanese whalers in the Northwest Pacific has remained unsold, an activist group said Wednesday.
The Tokyo-based Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR) has organized 13 rounds of public auctions since October to boost consumption of whale meat, but 909 tons of the 1,212 tons offered have not sold, according to a report the Dolphin & Whale Action Network.
“We could not achieve the results we had anticipated,” an ICR official was quoted by the Kyodo News agency as saying.
The institute said the bids submitted by wholesalers and food manufacturers were often lower than the lowest price it had set or that no bids were submitted at all.
Japan’s much-criticized whaling is a money-losing operation because most Japanese don’t eat whale meat, but vested interests are keeping it running, critics said.
Whaling is subject to a 1986 international moratorium and is opposed by many other countries. Japan officially halted commercial whaling in 1987, but it has used a loophole in the moratorium to continue under the premise of scientific research.