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US embassy cables: US presses Japan to transform International Whaling Commission Share Tweet this Email , Thursday 6 January 2011 15.54 GMT

iwc C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 STATE 117709

Summary US and Japanese officials discuss a proposal to reach a new global agreement for the International Whaling Commission. This would involve a 'compromise' deal to reduce the number of whales Japan catches for 'scientific purposes' in the Antarctic in return for being allowed to legally hunt limited numbers of whales off its coasts. Japan requests the US chief negotiator to act on a tax investigation of Sea Shepherd, a California-based anti-whaling group which has harassed the Japanese whaling fleet. Key passages highlighted in yellow. Read related article

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1. (C/NF) This is an action request. See paragraph 3. Post is requested to discuss with State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Tetsuro Fukuyama the potential for reaching a political agreement regarding Japan 's whaling practices.


2. (C) Department of Commerce Principal Deputy Undersecretary for Oceans and Atmosphere Monica Medina traveled to Tokyo to meet with GOJ officials November 3-5. At a private meeting with State Secretary Tetsuro Fukuyama, Ms. Medina requested political commitment from the new leadership in Japan to work with the United States to transform the International Whaling Commission so that it can better accomplish its objectives to conserve whales and manage whale stocks. In particular, the Governments of Japan and the United States would work towards reaching an understanding regarding a way forward for the International Whaling Commission that would include a meaningful reduction in Japan's current whaling levels and U.S. support for international approval of sustainable small-type coastal whaling activities off the coast of Japan. In addition, the GOJ would no longer hunt fin or humpback whales in the Southern Ocean, and the United States would uphold domestic and international laws to ensure safety at sea and encourage other governments to do the same. Ms. Medina provided a draft statement outlining these objectives to Post.

Action Request:

3. (U) Post, at the highest possible level, is requested to discuss reform of the IWC with State Secretary Fukuyama and other political appointees within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries in a position to influence the GOJ's actions on this topic. Post may draw upon the following talking points during these discussions:

- The International Whaling Commission (IWC) has not functioned effectively for many years due to the polarized views of its members. Previous efforts to resolve conflicts within the organization have not succeeded.

- The conflicts have at times become an irritant in the relations among the nations concerned, including the United States and Japan. They have also undermined whale conservation and management by the IWC.

- The new administrations in Japan and the United States have a unique opportunity to chart a different course for the IWC, and resolve our long-standing disagreements through fundamental reform of the IWC. This is a small issue but it is important to the Obama Administration that it be resolved quickly.

- Most recently, a small Support Group of IWC member nations, including Japan and the United States, met in October 2009 in Santiago, Chile. The United States is pleased by the significant progress made toward a possible interim agreement that would set overall whale catches at a reduced level while longer term negotiations continue. We nevertheless recognize that work needs to be done to bridge remaining differences on a key issue.

- Although all IWC members will ultimately share responsibility for the success or failure of this process, the approach taken by Japan in the immediate future will have a major impact on the likelihood of success.

- The United States strongly urges Japan to join with other IWC members who have shown willingness to compromise in the short term in order to reach the long-term goal of a normalized IWC.

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We fully appreciate that, for these negotiations to be concluded successfully, all participants will need to show maximum flexibility. If agreement on some reduction in Japan's catch levels can be reached, the United States believes that an overall interim agreement would be within reach. - The United States stands ready to work with Japan and all other IWC members toward such an interim agreement. We understand that there is an important related issue regarding safety at sea of the Japanese research vessels that must also be addressed.

4. (U) The Department thanks Embassy Tokyo in advance for its cooperation on this matter. Additionally, the Department wishes to thank Embassy Tokyo for the assistance and time provided to Ms. Medina during her recent visit to Tokyo, particularly in light of the upcoming Presidential visit. The Department's point of contact on this matter is Ms. Elizabeth Phelps, reachable at 202-647-0241 or via email at phelpse@state.gov.


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US embassy cables: US presses Japan to transform International Whaling Commission

This article was published on guardian.co.uk at 15.54 GMT on Thursday 6 January 2011 . It was last modified at 20.41 BST on Thursday 11 July 2013 . Environment Whaling · Whales World news Japan · The US embassy cables · Asia Pacific Series US embassy cables: the documents More from US embassy cables: the documents on

Environment Whaling · Whales World news Japan · The US embassy cables · Asia Pacific More on this story

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