If Japan Continues Slaughtering Whales, Boycott the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Photograph Source: Australian Customs and Border Protection Service – CC BY-SA 3.0

Japan is hosting the July 24 – August 9, 2020 Olympics. However, Japan is, once again, hunting and killing whales in “Japanese waters.” Japan used to hunt whales for years under the masks of culture and scientific research. Now, in 2019, Japan dropped those fraudulent claims and it is sending its fleets against whales.

This Japanese whaling is unnecessary and wrong. Japan is no longer the post-WWII defeated and hungry country. It’s a wealthy nation that does not need whales for survival.

Moreover, whaling is a slap in the face of the International Whaling Commission representing nations that used to kill whales but no longer do. The persistence of Japan in killing whales might convince other countries doing the same thing. This would be catastrophic for whales and the planet.

The ecological state of the world is so fragile that all bets are off. Killing the largest sea animals might just bring the Earth closer to ecological collapse.

The Trump effect

Next to Japan, the other source of instability is the United States, especially president Trump. He is claiming climate change is a hoax. Such illiterate and irresponsible suggestion has consequences. The entire US government is in turmoil, most bureaucrats not knowing if they should keep protecting people and the environment from pollution. Federal departments like the giant Department of Agricultureis waging war against science and forcing hundreds of its climate and agriculture experts to quit.

This is music to the ears of polluters who increase their criminal activities under dark. They are embolden to come out in the open in their ravaging of the natural world. Even other countries follow suit.

Why is Japan killing whales, again

Japan’s pirate commercial whaling is probably a result of the lawlessness sparked by Trump. Japan remains a US colony, so Trump is the real power behind the Japanese throne.

Japanese killing of whales serves two purposes. The Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe is up for reelection in 2021. His whaling policy is a desperate effort of economic nationalism. He ignored the 1986 ban on killing whales by the International Whaling Commission and the 2014 decision of the International Court of Justice prohibiting Japan’s slaughter of whales on unconvincing science grounds. Abe is showing to the Japanese he means business. Second, his crude breaking of international law brings him close to Trump who has contempt for international agreements.

Abe is butchering whales in order to show off his affection for Trump, while satisfying parochial commercial interests of plundering the seas for free whaling meat.

This abhorrent Japanese policy reminds the world that, down deep, Japan probably remains the country that brought so much suffering and death to so many countries during WWII.

Second, and just as fundamentally important, is that killing whales is offensive to the ideals of the Olympics.

Boycott the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo

It would be morally unacceptable for a whaling Japan sponsoring the Olympics. If the International Olympics Committee is unwilling to pull the Olympics out of Japan, a global boycott of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is in order.

Killing whales is just as bad as over fishing. It is a deadly blow against whales and against marine life. Biological diversity in the seas has been under attack by a continuing flood of plastics in the waters of the oceans and chemical pollution. In addition, mechanized factory fishing is extremely destructive of marine ecosystems. In this man-made chaos, global warming, another product of human irresponsibility, adds a pall on the survival of life in the oceans and land.

Rising global temperature

Rising temperatures and the melting of sea ice is undermining the food ecosystems that  make life possible. Large animals like whales have to try harder and travel longer distances to find food.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), who is running for president, is right saying climate change is a global emergency and existential threat to both people and wildlife.

Olympics and ecocide don’t mix

This new ecological and political reality makes the slaughter of whales a global crime against nature and civilization. Whaling becomes war.

War is the antithesis of the Olympics. These two human enterprises don’t mix. The Greeks invented and employed the Olympics to honor Zeus, the greatest of the gods. Second, the Olympics and other Panhellenic athletic and cultural festivals brought the Greeks together from all over the Mediterranean, giving them an opportunity  to get to know each other better in order to bring warfare to an end. At the very least, during the Olympics all conflicts and wars ceased.

Whaling Japan violates the Olympics

Modern Olympics continue, to some degree, the virtues of the Greek Olympics. They, too, encourage international friendship and cooperation. Their purpose is to strengthen, support, and promote international peace.

Japan has to decide and choose the road of peace — and the Olympics. However, staying and continuing as a pariah and business-as-usual rogue state, it disqualifies Japan from any association with the Olympics. The honest thing to do is to cease whaling for ever and honor itself with the privilege of the Olympics.

Evaggelos Vallianatos is a historian and environmental strategist, who worked at the US Environmental Protection Agency for 25 years. He is the author of 6 books, including Poison Spring with Mckay Jenkings.

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