Thursday, March 16, 2006
Tuvalu joins Palau, Nauru, Kiribati as Japan's 'bribes for votes' pro-whaling puppet
TUVALU (12 Mar 2006) -- Japan has pledged hundreds of thousands of dollars to the tiny Pacific nation of Tuvalu as it struggles under the weight of imported fuel costs - and denied that the funds were a bribe to win support for its whaling.
Tokyo inked similar deals last year for two other small nations in the Pacific, Nauru and Kiribati.
All three nations are members of the International Whaling Commission and support Japan's drive to reverse the IWC's 20-year moratorium on commercial whale hunting. They "absolutely" support Japan, said Geoffrey Palmer, New Zealand's commissioner to the IWC. "All recently joined the IWC and all are Japan supporters."
But Yujiro Akatsuka, an official at the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Economic Cooperation Bureau, denied the grants were linked to the nations' backing for Japan's whaling push.
"We want to support continued economic development in these countries," Akatsuka said Friday in Tokyo. "These kind of projects have no relation to their support in the IWC."
Tokyo has repeatedly failed to muster the three-fourths majority in the 66-member IWC needed to overturn the commercial whaling ban which took effect in 1986.
It has denied accusations of "vote- buying" among small, developing nations in the Caribbean and Africa as well as the Pacific in efforts to gain enough international support for its policies.
In July last year, former officials from Dominica, Grenada and the Solomon Islands claimed that Japan bribed their governments with aid to win support for its bid to overturn the international ban on commercial whaling. Japan denied the charge.
Tuvalu Prime Minister Maatia Toafa on Friday signed an agreement at the Japanese embassy in Fiji's capital, Suva, for 100 million yen (HK$6.6 million) of funds to meet 37 percent of the nation's fuel costs this year.
Most modern, educated Japanese do not eat whale and reject government propaganda that whaling is synonymous with being Japanese. But a small and politically powerful coalition of ultranationalist politicians, 'yakuza' crime bosses, fishing industry leaders and government controlled media including NHK promote the full-scale slaughter of whales in terms reminiscent of Japan's World War II rhetoric.
Thanking Japan's ambassador, Masashi Namekawa, Toafa said he was pleased with the speed with which Japan responded to requests for help, made in September last year.
"Japan can count on Tuvalu's support at various international forums on matters of common interest," he said.
Toafa said the grant will keep Tuvalu's power station running, allowing the Pacific island state to buy enough fuel to maintain two small transport ships and two fishing boats at sea. He said fuel import costs were the equivalent of 20 percent of total imports.
Tuvalu's 9,500 people live on nine coral atolls with a total area of 27 square kilometers, running their country on an annual budget of about US$5 million (HK$39 million).
This is absolutely incredible. And the main problem is that no nations have the backbone to stand up for things like this. We should be encouraging other nations not to join Japan in the crusade for commercial whaling, not sitting idle, just letting Japan agarner more support to rape the oceans. This is BULLSHIT... My next automobile will NOT BE JAPANESE!