Masayuki Komatsu, a senior Japanese Fisheries Agency official and delegate to the International Whaling Commission, said in September that whaling is a right and an important part of Japan’s cultural heritage.
Reuters reported that Komatsu told a gathering of journalists,
Eating whale is a key part of Japanese culture. . . . There are so many robust whales stocks, such as minke whales, the sei whale, the Bryde’s whale. . . . Sperm whales are rampant. They may be around twice the number of minke whales.
Komatsu has previously referred to minke whales as “cockroaches of the sea” and explained to his statement to journalists thusly,
There are two characteristics. One is that there are so many of both of them. And the reproduction rate for those two animals is very rapid. That’s why I said a minke whale is like a cockroach.
Komatsu noted that the Japanese government has already commissioned studies on what the impact would be if Japan decided to abandon the International Whaling Commission which so far has refused Japanese efforts to overturn the two decade ban on commercial whaling, but that no decision had been made yet on whether Japan would withdraw from the organization if it should again fail to overturn the ban at the 2005 IWC meeting.
Japan says whaling a right. Elaine Lies, Reuters, September 15, 2004.