HC Deb 28 November 1990 vol 181 cc862-3
12. Mr. Amos

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will meet the Japanese Foreign Minister to discuss the continued slaughter of whales, dolphins and porpoises, in defiance of the international moratorium.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

The Japanese Government are well aware of our views on the killing of whales, dolphins and porpoises.

Mr. Amos

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that reply, but will he have another meeting with the Japanese Minister and make it even clearer to him that we are not deceived by their rapacious, duplicitous and selfish action in killing whales because we know that they are killing them not for scientific research but for human consumption? Will my hon. Friend tell the Japanese Minister that we will not allow Japan to continue to fly in the face of world opinion on this very important ecological and environmental matter?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

The Government very much share my hon. Friend's views about the undesirability of the Japanese position. On two previous occasions in the past two years we co-sponsored resolutions at the International Whaling Commission calling on Japan to reconsider its programme. We feel that that is the best forum in which to pursue our objectives. I have no doubt that we will adopt a similar position, should circumstances continue to warrant it, at the next International Whaling Commission meeting in May.

Mr. Flannery

The Minister outlined some of the facts and referred to our contacts, but he failed to answer the question. We have great connections with Japan and the Japanese have many factories here and contacts with this country. Will the Minister use his influence to prevail upon the Japanese in a friendly manner to stop killing these noble animals just for profit? That is what they are doing.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

The Japanese are well aware of our views, which we continue to express. My point is that if we make our views known at the next commission meeting, we shall have the support of other people and maximum pressure will be brought to bear.

Mr. Robert Banks

Is not this slaughter utterly disgraceful? Views and representations are having no effect on the Japanese. Is not it time for countries such as Britain to take direct action by starting to ban certain products from Japan until the Japanese obey the moratorium?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

My hon. Friend is not quite right. In many areas the pressure that we have brought to bear on the Japanese Government has undoubtedly paid dividends. We expressed our concern about Dall's porpoises to the Japanese Government. In 1989, as a result of a report from the International Whaling Commission scientific committee, the Japanese catch of Dall's porpoise was unsustainable and the Japanese have now reduced the number that they catch. Our pressure is beginning to bear fruit and we shall proceed in the way that I have outlined.

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