St Lucia government challenged on continued Japanese aid

CASTRIES, St Lucia — Following the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling prohibiting Japan from whaling in the Antarctic Ocean, the Lucian People’s Movement (LPM) has called on the government of Saint Lucia to apprise the nation of whether it has received any assurances from the Japanese government that it will continue the high level of mutual cooperation that has existed between the two countries for the last 20 years.

Last Monday, the court concluded that “the special permits granted to Japan for the killing, taking and treating of whales in connection with Jarpa II are not for the purposes of scientific research,” and instead sided with the Australian government, which had argued for years that Japan was conducting commercial whaling under the guise of “scientific research.”

The LPM said that it is very important to highlight this major international development given Saint Lucia’s consistent support for Japanese whaling at past conferences of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and its possible implications for the island’s fisheries sector.

The party points to the enormous technical and economic contribution that Japan has made to fisheries development in Saint Lucia, including a recent agreement (signed last February) to improve the distribution and management of fishery resources by upgrading all machinery, equipment and other facilities throughout the island.

However, in spite of the recent agreement that is currently in place between Saint Lucia and Japan, the LPM said it is worried that the court’s ruling could impact the overall profitability of Japanese whaling, thereby prompting the Japanese government to drastically scale back its financial contribution to and technical cooperation with nations such as Saint Lucia.

The LPM also cited the dramatic decline in the consumption of whale meat among the Japanese people in recent years as another crucial factor that may eventually inhibit the Japanese government from honouring its long-term commitment to the government and people of Saint Lucia.

“The LPM believes that these and other factors should serve as a wake-up call to the government of Saint Lucia regarding how imperative it is to devise a sustainable economic strategy to lessen our heavy dependence on foreign aid and help fuel the economic engines of our nation,” the party said in a statement.

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