End-year Irony #1: Japan cancels free flights for NJ tourists, claims it’s “insensitive”, while funding GOJ whaling expeditions
Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on December 30th, 2011
Hi Blog. As the sands in the 2011 hourglass trickle away, here are a couple of posts to be filed away under Ironies. Today’s deals with how the GOJ sees “Tohoku disasters relief measures” — both in terms of funding foreign tourists and in funding ships killing whales.
Looks like one ministry is more prone to feeling public shame than the other, so, according to the announcements below, the suddenly “insensitive” proposal to give free plane tickets to foreign visitors to visit Japan has been cancelled. The Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries Ministry, however, is singularly shameless, so I doubt that will happen to whaling.
Now, sooner or later, we’ll have to show sensitivity somehow to those afflicted by the Tohoku disasters. I wonder which ministry that falls under. Probably a lot of it under the former Construction Ministry arm of MLIT (Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism), which has a long history of being even more shameless in ripping off the Japanese public than MAFF.
Once again, evidence of just how out of touch Japanese bureaucrats are with the public they purportedly serve. I guess the next disaster, sadly, will have to happen in Tokyo. Arudou Debito
Japan Flight Give Away Not to Go Ahead
December 26, 2011, courtesy of CB
This autumn there were many reports about the Japan Tourism Agency proposing to give away 10,000 free flights to Japan in 2012. After the proposal was reported, people from around the world sent messages to Japan National Tourism Organization saying they would like to participate in the programme to visit Japan and to help revitalize Japan’s tourism industry following the March 2011 earthquake. So it is with regret that the Japanese Government announced the budget for this proposal has been declined, so the flight give away will not be going ahead.
Thanks to the support of the international community, Japan is making vigorous progress towards reconstruction in the earthquake and tsunami affected northeast of Japan, but recovery from the earthquake continues to be a pressing issue.
“We realise that this announcement is going to disappoint thousands of people around the world, but we hope people will understand how insensitive it would appear for the Japanese Government to give people free flights to Japan when the cities, towns and villages devastated by the tsunami are still in desperate need of funding for reconstruction. We also would not want people thinking that the generous donations given from around the world to aide [sic] those affected by the disaster was being spent on giving people free flights.
[“]The places most popular with visitors to Japan – Tokyo, Kyoto, Hakone, Osaka, Hiroshima, Sapporo and Okinawa – were outside the earthquake and tsunami affected areas. Please do not let the fact that there will be no free flights put you off visiting Japan. There are lots of great deals available and Japan is ready and waiting to welcome back visitors more warmly than ever before,” said Kylie Clark, Head of PR & Marketing, Japan National Tourism Organization.
To find out more about the deals available on flights and holidays to Japan, please visit www.seejapan.co.uk.
For more information about this matter, please visit the Japan Tourism Agency website at www.visitjapan.jp and Japan National Tourism Organization’s global website at www.jnto.go.jp. The Japan Tourism Agency statement on this annoucement can be viewed here.
Above link reproduced below:
”Fly to Japan! Project”(10,000 FREE FLIGHTS TO FOREIGNERS)
Last Update : 2011/12/26
The project titled Fly to Japan! (to offer flight tickets to 10,000 foreigners with high potential to communicate Japan’s attractions), which had been covered in a number of media in autumn this year, was not approved as a governmental draft budget of FY 2012.
We express our hearty gratitude to a multitude of people for offering inquiries and messages to support Japan after its coverage.
As the recovery from the earthquake is an ongoing urgent task, Japan has been vigorously working towards its restoration with the support from the world. Almost all of Japan has been back to normal and ready to welcome visitors. We are sincerely looking forward to having you to see Japan with your own eyes.
Japan Tourism Agency and Japan National Tourism Organization would like to inform you of the events and promotions in 2012. If you are interested, please register as a Visit Japan fan from the site below.
You Won’t Believe How Japan Is Spending Extra Fukushima Relief Money
Business Insider.com, By Dina Spector, December 08, 2011
Of the $230 billion in government funds allocated to rebuilding Japan post-tsunami, $29 million is going toward the country’s annual whale hunt, an official from the nation’s Fisheries Agency told the AP.
The yearly whale expeditions that take place in the Antarctic Ocean are extremely controversial, often sparking aggressive anti-whaling campaigns from environmental groups like Greenpeace and the Sea Shepard Conservation Society.
But Japanese officials argue that the seasonal hunt is largely carried out for research purposes.
This year, the commercial trip will also aid whaling communities still struggling to recover from the March tsunami.
The AP reports:
Tatsuya Nakaoku, a Fisheries Agency official in charge of whaling, defended the move, saying the funding helps support Japan’s whaling industry as a whole, including some whaling towns along the devastated northeastern coast. One ship on the hunt is based in Ishinomaki, a town hit badly by the March 11 tsunami, he said.
A portion of the funds is also being funneled into efforts to protect the fleet from attacks by environmental groups. For the third year in a row, Coast Guard boats will be sent with the hunting convoy as a precautionary safety measure, reports Yoree Koh of The Wall Street Journal.
Japan has long drawn criticism from the international community for its whaling practices, which the country considers an integral part of its culture. For decades, Japansese whaling fleets have wriggled their way around a 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling by insisting that whales are captured for scientific research.
But according to Toko Sekiguchi of Time, “once a whale is killed, scientists collect data from the animal’s remains on its age, birthing rate and diet; the meat is then packaged and sold.”
Despite outrage from marine activists, whaling ships left Japan on Tuesday on a five-month journey that will return some 900 whales.
Now see what it’s actually like to go whale hunting >