Tsunami relief funds used to support whaling fleet

December 08, 2011

Japan has used funds from its tsunami recovery budget to subsidise its controversial annual whaling program, according to environmental activists. Greenpeace says JPY2.3 billion (USD30 million) is being used to fund extra security measures for the whaling fleet, which is is reportedly headed for Antarctic waters this week.

Earlier this year the Japanese Fisheries Agency applied to the government for extra funding for its program from the emergency budget aimed at helping communities recover from the devastating tsunami and earthquake. Activists say the agency's funding request was approved and it has spent the money on extra security and covering its debts.

Junichi Sato, from Greenpeace Japan, told Australia's ABC that there was no link between the whaling program and the tsunami recovery. "It is simply used to cover the debts of the whaling program, because the whaling program itself has been suffering from big financial problems," he said.