Oh Japanese whaling The firm unveiled vending machines offering whale sashimi, whale steak and whale bacon in Yokohama on Tuesday in hopes of reviving sales of the long-declining food and many super markets. Markets have avoided it.
Wearing a whale-shaped hat, Kyodo Senpaku president Hideki Tokoro greets potential customers at the firm’s latest “unmanned store” — a trio of vending machines in Motomachi, an upscale mix of fashion boutiques and artisan bakeries. The shopping district is home.
The firm recently established two similar outlets in Tokyo, plans to open a fourth in the western city of Osaka next month, and hopes to expand to 100 locations over the next five years.
“There are a lot of big supermarkets that are afraid of being harassed by anti-whaling groups so they won’t use whales. So there are a lot of people who want to eat whales but can’t,” Tokoro said at the launch. Said on the spot.
“So, we’re opening stores with the idea that we can provide a place where those people can eat.”
The products sold are mainly whales caught in Japan, with prices ranging from 1,000 yen ($8) to 3,000 yen ($23), a company spokesman said.
Although the government maintains that eating whales is its favorite part. The culture of JapanConsumption peaked in the early 1960s and steadily declined as other sources of protein became available and affordable.
Japan’s consumption of whale meat was only 1,000 tonnes in 2021, compared with 2.6 million tonnes for chicken and 1.27 million tonnes for beef, official figures show.
At its peak in 1962, annual consumption of whale meat was 233,000 tons.
Conservationists say the moves to promote whale meat are desperate attempts to revive interest in a struggling business.
“Most Japanese people have never tried it. So how can this be what you call a nationwide culture if no one is really participating? A global charity, Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) Japan policy chief Catherine Mathis said.
The International Whaling Commission – a global body that oversees whale conservation – was banned. Commercial whaling In 1986 after some species came close to extinction.
Some passers-by who passed by the shop said they would be open to eating whale but would not make any special effort.
“I wouldn’t go out of my way to come (buy it). I usually eat chicken,” said Orara Inamoto, 28, a customer service worker.
Proponents of whale meat point to its higher protein content and lower carbon footprint than other meats.