Whale meat consumption in Japan is now a mere 1 percent of its peak in the 1960s Current stockpiles of unsold whale meat have increased to nearly 5,000 tonnes and are more than four times greater what they were 15 years ago A majority of Japanese are indifferent to whaling; and 89 percent say they have not bought any whale meat in the past 12 months The whaling industry is able to survive only because of massive government taxpayer subsidies. Annual government subsidies for Japanese whaling average around 782 million yen (US $9.78m), but in 2011 increased by around 2.28 billion yen (US $28.55m).
That 2011 subsidy increase came from the diversion of earthquake reconstruction funds that had been earmarked for tsunami relief.
IFAW argues that a more productive and potentially profitable whale-based industry meriting Japanese government support is whale watching, which is growing in popularity in that country's waters and in 2008 generated approximately $22 million in income.
"The good people of Japan are paying billions to support a dying industry," said IFAW Whale Program Director Patrick Ramage. "If their government wants to generate income and help coastal communities, it should support whale watching. Whaling is an economic loser in the 21st century."