Whale, Dolphin Meat Sales Stopped by Japanese E-Commerce Giant, Rakuten

| by Phyllis M Daugherty

Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten announced Friday it has told online retailers to stop selling whale and dolphin meat after a UN court ordered an end to the country's Antarctic whale hunt, reports

"We issued a notice to all stores on April 1, asking them to stop sales of whale meat products by the end of the month," a Rakuten spokeswoman said. The notice was reportedly issued to about 42,000 online shops that operate on Rakuten's digital marketplace.

"We made the decision... following the ruling by the International Court of Justice and a subsequent comment by the Japanese government that it will obey the ruling," she added.

Although the company did not have a figure for how many of their retailers sold whale meat, conducted a search of the site on Friday and reported that it found about 700 listings for whale meat products.

There were no listings for dolphin meat.

Japan had said on Thursday that it is canceling this year's hunt for the first time in more than a quarter of a century to comply with the decision of the United Nations' International Court of Justice.

Critics have been pressuring Tokyo over its use of a legal loophole in a 1986 whaling ban that allowed it to continue slaughtering the mammals claiming it was gathering scientific data.

Australia, backed by New Zealand, hauled Japan before the international court in 2010 in a bid to stop the yearly campaign, which has attracted widespread condemnation outside Japan.
Support for whaling has drastically decreased, but aggressive anti-whaling campaigns sought to harden sentiment among the Japanese public, framing the UN judgment as ‘An attack on differing cultural values’.

Rakuten's decision comes several weeks after the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) published a critical report that said the company is the world's largest online marketplace for whale meat and elephant ivory, and said the advertisements were akin to arming poachers.

Source: The New Age