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Report: Japan used earthquake recovery funds for whaling

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This is really disappointing news out of Japan. The fisheries department is trying to justify the funding but they have to know that's not going to fly. The world generously donated to support Japan in its time of need and nobody would have imaged the funds could be used for such a globally unpopular practice. There are a lot of people suffering from the earthquake, but funding for a money-losing venture such as whaling should not be anywhere near the list for receiving money.

Say it ain't so, Japan.

Three ships, led by the 720-tonne Yushin Maru and accompanied by a fisheries agency guard vessel, left Shimonoseki port in south-western Japan amid accusations that the fleet was taking cash intended for fishing communities hit by the March earthquake and tsunami.

According to campaigners the government used 2.28 billion yen (£19m/US$30m) from the earthquake recovery fund, on top of its existing $6m annual subsidy, to pay for this year's hunt.

"It is absolutely disgraceful for the Japanese government to pump yet more taxpayer money on an unneeded, unwanted and economically unviable whaling programme, when funds are desperately needed for recovery efforts," said Junichi Sato, the executive director of Greenpeace Japan.

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