Japan Uses Disaster Budget to Fund Whaling Hunt

Official defends the controversial move
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2011 12:46 PM CST
Japan Uses Disaster Budget to Fund Whaling Hunt
Japanese whaling factory ship Nisshin Maru approaches the anti-whaling Sea Shepherd's high-speed trimaran while using water cannons during an encounter in Southern Ocean, Antarctica, Feb. 9, 2011.   (AP Photo/Sea Shepherd, Simon Ager)

Of Japan's $230 billion in supplementary budgets meant for tsunami reconstruction, $29 million will be used for … a whaling hunt. An official confirmed the move today, and simultaneously defended it, noting that some whaling towns were hit badly by the March 11 tsunami, and the funding will help to support the country's whaling industry. The money will increase security and maintain operations for the annual Antarctic Ocean hunt, as whaling boats have been increasingly interfered with by conservationists.

Greenpeace, of course, is not happy, and says the whaling funding is taking money away from victims of the tsunami. Most of the rest of the money in the supplementary budgets is going toward rebuilding projects, but the AP notes that some other projects—like this one—"appear less directly related." This year's expedition reportedly left Tuesday, and a Coast Guard spokesperson says a number of Coast Guard officers accompanied it. (More Japan stories.)

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