Japan, for many, illustrated the changing face of CITES. It led the campaign against the listing of the marine species and spent months before the meeting lobbying aggressively.Apparently, Japan even sought to turn the world environmental conference into a "junket" for members of unscrupulous regimes
They held a reception for select representatives at their embassy in Qatar, offering up Atlantic bluefin tuna sushi - a typical food served at Japanese formal occasions - the night before the vote on the export ban of the overfished species.
But some delegates accused Japan of using tactics that went beyond diplomacy and violated the spirit of CITES.Last week, the world saw Japanese leadership in action on the international stage in Doha. Japan flexed its diplomatic and economic muscles to coordinate the obstruction of international efforts to protect bluefish tuna, coral, and sharks (scroll down for other posts, further details).
Kenya, which fought the Japanese over tuna, accused Tokyo of pressuring delegates to support its positions and paying fisheries officials from unnamed African countries to attend the conference.
Such an outrage demands an appropriate and measured response from global citizens.
It would be difficult to target all Japanese products for boycott. In some categories, such as economy cars or cameras, there are simply too few quality and price-competitive alternatives in the marketplace. It might also be hard to measure the effect of such a broad boycott.
On the other hand, a boycott of a specific category of products from Japan has several advantages.
Consumers worldwide might be urged to boycott new high-end Japanese cars. The main reason to target this product class is the quality, cost, and origin of competing products. German -- and to some extent American companies -- also manufacture luxury automobiles. But whereas both Germany the US have demonstrated leadership in campaigning for the preservation of marine life, Japan has not.
Boycotting high-end Japanese cars would send Tokyo a clear message: it's time to put environmental responsibility before luxury.