Whale hunting is unacceptable

IT SEEMS quite incredible that in the 21st century the world's second biggest economy still sees nothing wrong with slaughtering the largest, and most beautiful, creatures that swim in our oceans.

IT SEEMS quite incredible that in the 21st century the world's second biggest economy still sees nothing wrong with slaughtering the largest, and most beautiful, creatures that swim in our oceans.

There has been disgust for decades that Japan - along with a few other small countries like Iceland and Norway - persists with hunting whales.

This disgust has degenerated into pure revulsion with the news that this year the Japanese plan to kill numbers of humpback whales - a species that has been protected since the early 1960s.

The Japanese nation always tries to portray itself as liberal, aware of the importance of its links with the world, and advanced as a society.


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Yet when the subject of whaling is raised, the red mist descends and the country seems determined to fly in the face of world opinion.

Of course not all Japanese people are in favour of whaling - that country's Greenpeace group is among the fiercest critics of whale hunting.

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The Japanese government and the people of that country need to know that the world is appalled by the actions of their whaling fleet.

It is not as if they are hunting for whales in Japanese waters - they sail to the other side of the world, around Antarctica - to find their prey.

The news has to get through to Japan - people around the world are appalled by the whaling industry and will eventually find other ways of expressing their feeling - possibly when buying their next car or electronic device.

SWITCHING on Christmas lights in Ipswich town centre has become a major event on the town's calendar - and one that thousands of people want to feel part of.

The organisers of the event on Sunday were faced with a difficult dilemma. They wanted as many people as possible to get on to the Cornhill - but have to ensure public safety.

There were irritations for some people who were separated from their children when the barriers were put up - although organisers could point out that if the children were old enough to be left alone in the Cornhill while their parents went shopping or to a coffee shop they were probably old enough to stay on their own for another few minutes while the lights were switched on.

Arranging security for major events like this is never an exact science. There are always lessons that can be learned after the event.

But the fact is that no one was hurt on Sunday evening. No one was missing for more than a few minutes - and most of the audience had a great time at a free event.

WHEN the fire alarm went off at the Buttermarket centre in Ipswich, there was inevitably some concern among the thousands of shoppers and staff in the complex.

But the way the management and security staff dealt with yesterday's drama ensured their was no panic, and no major disaster.

This was not a drill, but the speedy arrival of the fire service and their efficiency in dealing with a small electrical fire in the new Suffolk Glass Store ensured it was not the disaster that could have developed.

Modern shopping malls like the Buttermarket centre have safety measures built in - and when they were tested they were found to be robust.

That should give shoppers great confidence in the run-up to Christmas.

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