But of course:
In a written reply to a query on Japan’s “marine aid” to developing countries, the government acknowledged pouring 617 million yen ($8.7 million) last year into St Kitts & Nevis, the tiny Caribbean nation that hosted the IWC conference.
Nicaragua, the top recipient of Tokyo’s largesse, was awarded about $17 million, and the Pacific island cluster of Palau got $8.1 million.
All three countries voted with Japan, Iceland and Norway at last weekend’s conference in favour of the “St Kitts & Nevis Declaration”, calling for the 20-year ban on commercial whaling to be scrapped.
Of course, not all countries are so quick to offer themselves up for sale:
TUVALU: Tuvalu Opposes Tying Aid To Whale Vote
Monday: June 26, 2006
Tuvalu says it would be a mistake if countries such as Australia and New Zealand start using their aid programs to persuade Pacific countries to support them in international forums.
Japan has been accused of using chequebook diplomacy to influence the Pacific on whaling after six island nations voted to support a Japanese resolution at the International Whaling Commission.
New Zealand’s opposition National Party spokesman on foreign affairs, Murray McCully, has suggested taking a more robust approach towards small island states.
But Tuvalu’s prime minister, Maatia Toafa says, “Well I don’t think that is fair because as far as Tuvalu is concerned, we are an aid-dependent country and we feel that we should be left to make our decisions without any influences.”
Well, Tuvalu, if one didn’t tie aid to something, what’s the guarantee that the money won’t be wasted on traditional canoes or 900-number network infrastructure with no concrete return for Japan? Something tells me you’re just holding out for a sweeter deal.