THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                           December 29, 2000

                      AND THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE

                                 December 29, 2000

Dear Mr. Speaker:   (Dear Mr. President:)

On September 13, 2000, the Secretary of Commerce certified that Japan had
authorized its nationals to conduct research whaling activities that
diminish the effectiveness of the International Whaling Convention (IWC)
conservation program.  This message constitutes my report to the Congress
pursuant to section 8 of the Fishermen?s Protective Act of 1967, 22 U.S.C.
1978 (the Pelly Amendment).

Secretary Mineta?s certification was the third against Japan for scientific
research whaling.  The first was in 1988, when Japan initiated its
Antarctic program that now entails an annual take of 440 minke whales.  The
second was in 1995, after Japan extended its program to the North Pacific,
where it has been taking 100 minke whales per year.  This year, despite a
specific resolution passed by the majority of IWC parties calling on Japan
to refrain from conducting lethal research in the North Pacific, Japan
expanded its program in the North Pacific to permit the take of 10 sperm
whales and 50 Bryde?s whales.  The total harvest in this summer?s hunt was
40 minke whales, 5 sperm whales, and 43 Bryde?s whales.  I remain very
concerned about Japan?s deci-sion to expand its research whaling to two
additional species.

I also remain concerned about Japan?s practice of taking whales in the
Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary north of Antarctica.  This is an
internationally recognized sanctuary that was approved by the IWC.  I see
no justification for Japan?s practice and will continue to urge Japan to
reconsider its policy, which I believe undermines the effectiveness of
whale sanctuaries everywhere.  I note in addition that Japan?s practice is
clearly out of step with the growing international consensus in support of
whale sanctuaries, and in sharp contrast to the strong leadership that
Mexico and Brazil have both shown in the last 3 months in designating areas
off their coasts as whale sanctuaries.

Along with many other members of the IWC, the United States believes the
Japanese research whaling program has dubious scientific validity.
Information relevant to management of whale stocks can be collected by
nonlethal techniques.  Products of the research harvest are sold in
Japanese markets, which raises questions about the true motivation for the
program.  In addition, Japan has conducted the same set of scientific
research experiments on significant numbers of minke whales for more than
10 years.

I want to underscore that concerns about Japan?s lethal scientific whaling
program are not simply a bilateral matter.  A substantial majority of IWC
members share our concern and want Japan to curtail its program.

My Administration has already taken a wide range of economic and diplomatic
measures in response to Japan?s expanded program.  On September 13, I
directed the Secretary of State to make Japan ineligible to conduct fishing
operations within the United States exclusive economic zone.  I, members of
my Cabinet, and other United States officials, have raised our strong
concerns at the highest levels of the Japanese Government and will continue
to do so.  I have personally intervened with Prime Minister Mori.  We also
joined 14 other governments in making a high-level demarche to the Japanese
Government to protest its decision to issue the permits.  In September, we
canceled a bilateral fisheries meeting that we have been holding annually
for more than a decade.  We also declined to participate in a ministerial
meeting on environmental issues in August hosted by Japan.  We have also
actively supported the selection of a country other than Japan to host the
next intersessional meeting of the IWC.  As a result, the IWC voted 17-10
to hold the meeting in Monaco instead of Tokyo.

The United States has intensified its serious engagement on these issues
with Japan.  In November, we held bilateral con-sultations with Japan in
Tokyo on scientific research on whales.  At that meeting, we appreciated
receiving the news that Japan is preparing to conduct two nonlethal
scientific whale programs in the next 12 months.  This is a very
encouraging sign.  We expect our bilateral meeting will lead to an IWC
Scientific Committee workshop on methods for whale research.  I view this
meeting as a positive but limited step.  Our goal remains that Japan
substitute nonlethal techniques for its program.  We will vigorously pursue
this objective in conjunction with our partners in the IWC.

We are concerned that the presence of these additional species of whales in
the Japanese market could increase the risk of derivatives of whale
products entering international commerce.  To this end, we have raised
these matters within the Convention on International Trade in Endangered
Species, and an interagency team continues to consider additional measures
to enforce international and national prohibitions on trade in whale
products.  If warranted, the Secretaries of Commerce and the Treasury will
take appropriate additional measures.

In sum, I remain deeply concerned by Japan?s unilateral actions.  For this
reason, I have directed the Departments of State, Commerce, the Interior,
and the Treasury, as well as the Office of the United States Trade
Representative, to keep this matter under active review.  I will also
direct these agencies to further examine the relationship between Japanese
companies that both manufacture whaling equipment and export products to
the U.S. market.  I would consider actions regarding any imports from
whaling equipment manufacturers, as well as actions regarding a broader
range of imported products, should they be warranted by lack of progress
from our bilateral and multilateral efforts; however, I do not believe that
import prohibitions would further our objectives at this time.  We are
committed to a sustained effort in order to bring about positive movement
in Japan?s whaling policies.


                              WILLIAM J. CLINTON

                                 # # #

President and First Lady | Vice President and Mrs. Gore
Record of Progress | The Briefing Room
Gateway to Government | Contacting the White House | White House for Kids
White House History | White House Tours | Help
Privacy Statement


Site Map

Graphic Version

T H E   W H I T E   H O U S E