Nations fail to agree on curbing Japan whale hunt


AGADIR, Morocco — Nations failed Wednesday to reach a deal to curb
whale hunts by Japan, Norway and Iceland that kill hundreds of whales
every year — and Japan blamed anti-whaling nations for being

The 88 nations of the International Whaling Commission held two days
of intense closed-door talks on a proposal to ease the 25-year-old ban
on commercial whaling in exchange for smaller kills by the three
countries that claim exemptions to the moratorium on hunting for

About 1,500 animals are killed each year by Japan, Norway and Iceland.
Japan, which kills the majority of whales, says its hunt is for
scientific research — but more whale meat and whale products end up in
Japanese restaurants than in laboratories.

Acting IWC chairman Anthony Liverpool told an open meeting Wednesday
that "fundamental positions remained very much apart."

"After nearly three years of discussions, it appears our discussions
are at an impasse," said chief U.S. delegate Monica Medina.

Japanese whaling commissioner Yasue Funayama said her country had
offered major concessions to reach a compromise and blamed
anti-whaling countries that refused to accept the killing of a single

"We must rise above politics and engage in a broader perspective,"
Funayama said.

Anti-whaling countries sought to end Japan's hunting forays into a
southern ocean whaling sanctuary, ban the international trade in whale
meat and to set firm quotas for the whaling nations for the next 10

It was not clear what the meeting would do now, since it was scheduled
to continue until Friday. New Zealand Commissioner Geoffrey Palmer,
who chaired a 12-nation working group that has met a half dozen times
over the last year, suggested a yearlong cooling-off period.

Some environmentalists have accused Japan of vote-buying, using
development aid money and personal favors to swing small, poorer
nations to its side in the whaling debate.

Liverpool, a diplomat from Antigua and Barbuda and its ambassador to
Japan, has been quoted by a British paper as admitting that Japanese
interests have paid hotel bills for him and says he sees nothing "odd
about that."

The whaling commission was created after World War II to conserve and
manage whale stocks. Tens of thousands of animals were killed each
year until 1986, when the IWC adopted the moratorium.