Outline A report circulating via social media, email, and even some news outlets claims that Japan is stopping all of its whaling activities, effective immediately.
The report is a hoax and has no factual basis. Japan has not announced that is about to stop whaling activities. The hoax report was originally published on a satirical, pseudo news website.
Tokyo (Kyodo) - The top spokesperson for the Japanese government announced that Japan will no longer hunt and kill whales for research.
"Effective immediately, Japan will no longer conduct scientific research on whale populations which require capture and dissection," said Chief Cabinet Secretary Makoto Inoue, speaking at a press conference in Tokyo. "The Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has revoked all permits for whaling research."
Asked about the motivation behind the sudden announcement, Inoue said, "It cannot be denied that that whaling severely and unnecessarily damages the image of Japan in the international community, due to the strong sentiment against whaling in many countries," speaking through an interpreter. "There is no longer any economic need for Japan to obtain protein from the whales, so it would be irrational and pointless to continue catching whales."
A rumour that Japan has now stopped all of its whaling activities has been circulating rapidly via social media, blogs and email. The rumours are derived from a report published on the CBS Breaking News website that claims that "the top spokesperson for the Japanese government announced that Japan will no longer hunt and kill whales for research." The report, supposedly from Japanese news agency, Kyodo, further claims that the Japanese government decided to end whaling immediately because whaling has severely damaged Japan's image in the international community.
However, the report is a hoax. Japan has made no announcement about its intention to stop whaling. The report is actually a fake "news" story among many others published on the CBS Breaking News website. CBS Breaking News is a satirical website that publishes entirely fictional pseudo news stories. The site's About Page notes:
CBS Breaking News was initially called Instant News and drawn up way back in 1998 as a project to be shown at ARS Electronica. The idea was to highlight sensationalism in the media, especially the bizarre spectacle of morbid journalism the media and media consumers feast on when major disasters such as earthquakes occur.
The "Japan to End Whaling" article is listed as one of three stories "which cause people to instantly identify them as fake, and exclaim: "that will never happen!". This may well be true when people read the story within the context of the website itself. However, the story soon escaped its original satirical confines and began moving rapidly through cyberspace, especially via Twitter, Facebook and the blogosphere. Away from its original home, it was not quite so easy to identify as untrue and many were fooled into believing that the report was genuine. Even some real news outlets were reportedly duped.
Other news outlets, including the Sydney Morning Herald have now dismissed the story as a hoax.
And, for the record, there is no such report published on the Japanese news network, Kyodo.