This article scrutinizes the controversy surrounding the resumption of Japanese Antarctic whaling from 1946, focusing on the negotiations and concessions that underline the nature of the Allied Occupation as an international undertaking. Britain, Norway, Australia, and New Zealand objected to Japanese pelagic whaling, chiefly on the grounds of its past record of wasteful and inefficient operations. Their opposition forced the Natural Resources Section of General Headquarters, Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, to increase the number of Allied inspectors on board the two Japanese whaling factories from one to two, and to respond carefully to the criticisms they made of the conduct of Japanese whaling. U.S. sensitivity to international censure caused the Occupation to encourage the factory vessels to prioritize oil yields over meat and blubber for domestic consumption. Moreover, General Douglas MacArthur, the U.S. Occupation commander, summarily rejected a proposal to increase the number of Japanese fleets from two to three in 1947. With its preponderance of power, the United States successfully promoted Japanese Antarctic whaling, but a tendency to focus only on outcomes obscures the lengthy and difficult processes that enabled Japanese whaling expeditions to take place on an annual basis from late 1946.
Journal of American-East Asian Relations – Brill
Published: Dec 9, 2019