Some news from Tokyo-
TOKYO - The landlocked nation of Laos has agreed to join the International Whaling Commission at Japan's request and is highly likely to support Tokyo's high-profile pro-whaling campaign, Japanese officials said Wednesday.A representative from Laos belongs on a whaling commission as much as TFM belongs on one for the mating habits of eskimos. Again politics and bribery rules over common sense.
Japan is on a diplomatic drive to win support for its bid to overturn a moratorium on commercial whaling, but it was unclear if Laos could complete membership in time for the next commission meeting May 28-31 in Anchorage, Alaska.
Laotian Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh made the pledge Monday during talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who afterward announced new development aid of $1 million to Laos for the removal of buried unexploded bombs.
Laos has no coastline and no tradition of whaling or eating whale meat as Japan, and its IWC membership fanned accusations among anti-whaling activists that Tokyo plies impoverished nations with aid in exchange for pro-whaling votes.
A Foreign Ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of protocol, denied the aid package was linked to Laotian support in the IWC. Still, she said Japan had urged Laos to join — and reminded the country of that request before Monday's meeting.
"It's highly likely that Laos will support Japan's position" at the IWC, she said.
Such support is crucial for Japan's pro-whaling bid. At an IWC meeting last year in St. Kitts, a slim majority of members voted in support of commercial whaling, but did not have enough support to overturn the 20-year-old moratorium.
Dave Schuler at OTB also comments on the story's headline 'Laos to Join International Whaling Commission.'
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