“There is no such thing as an Australian whale.” says Japanese Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission, Jiro Kodera.
Mr Kodera claimed that Japanese people eating whales was on a par with Australians tucking into kangaroo.
“Here we have a difference of opinion,” he said.
“Culture is in a sense important. But despite the fact that our culture allows us to eat the whale meat, we can refrain from eating the whale meat if it means the whale is going to be extinguished.”
“Japan would never enter Australian waters [the 200-mile exclusive economic zone] to take whale without IWC [permission],” Mr Kodera said.
“If there are enough whales in the ocean to allow the cull, then they should be allowed to do so,” he said. “The important thing is we are in the same boat, in terms of conserving the whale.”
Japan yesterday predicted the May 27 meeting of the International Whaling Commission could be “a turning point”.
Joji Morishita, a senior member of Japan’s IWC delegation, said the difference between pro and anti-whaling blocs was now just one or two votes.
“If countries like Australia don’t want to eat whales, fine. But they have no right to impose their value judgments on us,” he said.