Boris Johnson said he will be campaigning against whaling, and told The Telegraph: “At a time when we are already seeing the tragic and irreversible destruction of our natural world, with the sea increasingly pumped full of plastics and climate change threatening entire ecosystems, it is more important than ever to take a stand against the cruel practice of whaling.
“I look to Japan, a world leader on climate change and free trade, to stand with me in the fight against the killing of these beautiful mammals and take steps to help preserve our precious marine life for future generations.
“As the UK prepares to host the COP26 summit this year, and we continue to drive forwards action to reduce global emissions, we must remember that our success in tackling climate change is inherently bound up with restoring biodiversity.
“Let us not imagine a world where our children and grandchildren do not know the song of the humpback whale. We must all come together to respect and protect one of mother nature’s greatest treasures.”
The Foreign Office is also raising the issue with counterparts in Japan. International Marine Minister Lord Goldsmith said: “The UK is a world leader on marine protection, including protection for iconic marine wildlife such as whales – which is why we have condemned commercial whaling and urge nations around the world to join us in protecting these majestic creatures.
“We strongly expressed the UK’s desire to see the whale freed, and the Japanese government is in no doubt as to the strength of feeling in the UK on this issue. News of the minke whale’s death is heartbreaking.”
The Prime Minister has previously, in private, admonished the Japanese government for resuming whaling, and is understood to be passionate about the issue.