Whalemeat in Japanese school lunches found toxic


This is a video of short-finned pilot whales near Tenerife.

Reuters reports:

TOKYO Whalemeat served in school lunches in an area of rural Japan are contaminated with alarming levels of mercury, a local assemblyman said on Wednesday, calling for a halt in plans for the meat to be shipped to schools nationwide.

Hisato Ryono, a assemblyman in Taiji, a historic whaling town some 450 km (280 miles) west of Tokyo, said two samples of short-finned pilot whale had mercury levels 10 to 16 times more than advised by the Health Ministry.

The samples, bought from two local supermarkets, also had 10-12 times more methyl mercury than advised levels, he said.

Ryono and a fellow assemblyman conducted tests after local authorities ignored their calls to have the whalemeat inspected before it was served in school lunches in the town’s kindergartens and elementary and junior high schools.

“We were shocked that it continued to be served in school lunches,” Ryono told Reuters by phone.

Men, women, and the environment: here.

Australian protest against Japanese whaling, see here.

Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto against whaling: here.

Humpback whaling: here.

A newly published book about Minamata disease has revealed, possibly for the first time to Canadians, that former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau personally interfered with the publication of one or more studies concerning the mercury problem at Grassy Narrows. “Niigata Minimata Disease: Methyl Mercury Poisoning in Niigata, Japan” was authored by Dr. Saito Hisashi, a general practitioner who has worked with Minamata patients ever since the disease was discovered in Niigata, Japan, in 1965. The book was first published in 1996, but only now has it been translated to English: here.

12 thoughts on “Whalemeat in Japanese school lunches found toxic

  1. Agreement reached to settle Minamata suit

    THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

    2010/03/31

    KUMAMOTO–A group of 2,123 uncertified victims of Minamata mercury poisoning agreed Monday with three defendants–the state, the Kumamoto prefectural government and Chisso Corp., the company that discharged mercury into the sea–to accept a Kumamoto District Court proposal to settle their damages suit.

    The deal offers a lump-sum payment of 2.1 million yen ($22,700) and monthly medical allowances to each plaintiff, along with an additional fund of 2.95 billion yen for the group.

    A formal settlement is expected by the end of the year, after a third-party panel determines whether each plaintiff should be covered by the settlement. Should some not be covered, the group will compensate them from its fund.

    A relief law enacted last year means that the government will provide similar levels of relief to other patients, totalling nearly 40,000, who are not officially recognized and not part of the suit.

    Symptoms of Minamata disease include numbness in the limbs, cramps, and problems with speaking, vision and hearing. The disease can also affect fetuses in the womb.

    http://www.asahi.com/english/TKY201003300438.html

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