Whaling company sells snacks via vending machines

STORY: These vending machines sell whale meat snacks

Location: Yokohama, Japan

Whaling company Kyodo Senpaku hopes they will help revive sales

of a food long in decline and shunned by many supermarkets

(Hideki Tokoro, Kyodo Senpaku President)

“Major supermarkets aren’t dealing with whale because they are being harassed by anti-whaling groups. There are many major supermarkets that are afraid of being harassed by anti-whaling groups so they won't use whale. So, there are many people who want to eat whale but can't. Therefore, we are opening stores with the thought that we can provide a place where those people can eat.”

In 1986, the International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling

after some species came close to extinction

but Japan resumed commercial whaling in 2019

The government says eating whale is a cherished part of Japan's culture

Some conservationists say Kyodo Senpaku's vending machines

are desperate attempts to revive interest in a struggling business

(Katrin Matthes, Whale and Dolphin Conservation's Japan Policy Head)

"So that's what they're probably trying to do. Make it more popular, make the people more aware about it. Telling the people this is part of our national identity to make them increase their demand, so that they will hopefully be able to sell more. So that is what we think is going on right now. So it's a big question if they will be successful in the end. As of now, to us it looks (like) the people are not getting really influenced by that."