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Japan: Whales

Volume 472: debated on Tuesday 4 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions the Minister for Asia had with the Japanese Foreign Minister in Tokyo in January on Japan’s whaling programme in the Southern Ocean; and if he will make a statement. (189968)

My noble Friend the Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, the right hon. Lord Malloch-Brown, visited Tokyo from 17-19 January. During his discussion with the Japanese Foreign Minister, the Minister reiterated the UK’s strong opposition to Japan’s whaling programme.

The Government believe whaling is inherently cruel and continue strongly to urge Japan to cease its whaling activities. In December last year our ambassador in Tokyo took part in a 30 country (plus the European Commission) demarche to the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to protest against Japan’s whaling programme. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs my hon. Friend the Member for Chatham and Aylesford (Jonathan Shaw) met with the deputy head of mission at the Japanese embassy in January and robustly challenged Japan’s policy on whaling, pointing out that the UK would continue to state our opposition on this issue publicly.