Whale meat vending machines installed in Japan

To buy whale meat through a Vending machine is possible in Japanspecifically in the port city of Yokohama, where a cetacean operator has found a new way to cultivate customers and strengthen their sales.

The public can buy up to three authorized machines all kinds of meat from an animal that in Japan has once again been the subject of commercial hunting since 2019. sashimi Y bacon a fillet of whale. A variety that ranges from 1,000 yen (7.08 euro) and the 3,000 (21.25).

The meat of this animal has long been a reason for controversythough anti-whaling protests have subsided since Japan three years ago ended its much-criticized research hunts in the Antarctic.

An action that worries environmentalists, including Nanami Kurasawa, director of the Iruka & Kujira Action Network (Dolphins and Whales), who has indicated that the operator is already requesting additional catches to expand its operations.

The sale of whale meat is not usually a typical product of Japanese supermarkets, although the success of this type of business hopes to expand its sales network and reach 100 machines throughout the country in five years, according to progress The Associated Press.

“As a result, many consumers who want to eat it are unable to find or buy whale meat. We have launched vending machines in stores without staff for those people,” said Kyodo Senpaku Co. spokesman Konomu Kubo.

A resounding success, with occasional shortages, as happened to Mami Kashiwabara, a 61-year-old customer, who ended up with tail meat instead of bacon. A delicacy that reminds you of your childhoodat family dinners or school lunches.

“I don’t think it’s good to wantonly kill whales. But whale meat is part of Japanese food culture and we can respect life of the whales appreciating his meat”says Kashiwabara.

270 whales caught in 2022

As part of its commercial whaling in the Japanese exclusive economic zone, Japan caught 270 whales last year, less than 80% of the quota and those that it previously hunted in the Antarctic and Pacific Northwest in its research program.

Conservation groups condemned the resumption of commercial whaling four years ago. However, the company Kyodo Senpaku Co. will build a mother shipvalued at 42 million dollars.

In other corners of the world, such as Iceland, whaling is losing support and whalers have already reduced catches. In the case of Japan, the cetacean could be moving away from their shores due to the scarcity of saury, a staple in their diet, and other fish, possibly due to the impact of climate change.

Affordable source of protein after WWII

Whale meat was an affordable source of protein during the years of malnutrition Japan after World War II, with a maximum annual consumption of 233,000 tons in 1962.

The whale went quickly substituted for other meats. The supply of whale meat fell to 6,000 tons in 1986, the year before the IWC-imposed moratorium on commercial whaling banned hunting of several species of whales.

The annual supply of meat had fluctuated in a range of 3,000 to 5,000 tons, including imports from Norway and Iceland. The amount was further reduced in 2019 to 2,000 tonnes, or 20 grams (less than 1 ounce) of whale meat per person per year, Fisheries Agency statistics show.

Long-term uncertainty

“From a long-term perspective, I think it would be difficult to maintain the sector with current supply levels,” says Kubo, who hopes to increase the annual catch quota to be able to supply up to 5,000 tons. “We must expand both supply and demand, which have decreased.”

Now, the offer is limited and the company that produces this type of machine emphasizes that the indicted whale meat cannot be a viable business.

This is how Yuki Okoshi explains it, who began servingr dishes of whale meat at his Japanese-style seafood restaurant three years ago, when the product became available through commercial hunting.

“The future of the whaling industry depends on whether customers need us, and perhaps restaurants like us, who are closest to consumers, have the key to survival.”

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