Did Japan quit killing hawksbill turtles to resume killing whales?
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 1994:
TOKYO, Japan––More than
three years after former U.S. president
George Bush warned Japan to quit dealing in
hawksbill sea turtles or face trade sanctions
under the Convention on International Trade
in Endangered Species, Japan on July 15
banned the import of the rare turtles and/or
their parts––after importing circa 30 tons of
hawksbill turtleshell during the first half of
1994 alone. The shells are used to make var-
ious ornamental sundries. The Bush warn-
ing, never followed up, was the first-ever
U.S. move to enforce CITES, although
Congress gave the President the authority to
do so in 1977. Japan is believed to have
imported parts of more than two million sea
turtles since 1971, according to Earth Island
Institute, including the shells of at least
234,000 hawksbills during the 1980s.
“The purchase of sea turtles by
Japan is responsible for the greatest killing of
endangered species in the world,” according
to Earth Island sea turtle restoration project
director Todd Steiner. The U.S. has listed the
hawksbill as endangered since 1975.
The belated Japanese action on sea
turtles was seen by some observers as house-
cleaning preliminary to the announcement
that Japan will not respect the Southern
Oceans Whale Sanctuary.