Japan targets tourists to boost falling whale meat sales
Event organizers and restaurants in Japan are now striving to promote whale meat to overseas visitors.
Twenty eight restaurants taking part in the October Ebisu Kujira Festival in Tokyo’s Ebisu district plan to showcase whale meat dishes in a bid to attract tourists. For the first time this year, the event is seeking to entertain overseas visitors with chefs serving a variety of whale-based food.
Despite an international ban on commercial whaling, Japan has continued to kill whales under an exemption for ‘research’. However, much of the meat ends up on sale to the public.
The consumption of whale meat in Japan is in decline, with vast quantities held in frozen storage. The country’s whaling industry continues to be propped up by subsidises from the Japanese government and attempting to get tourists to eat the meat has been seen as yet another attempt to open up new markets for it.
Previously, the Japanese government has resorted to serving whale meat in schools, to the military and also given the meat away free to the general public.