By Ray Fleming

WHICH is probably the next most corrupt international organisation after Fifa? It comes as a surprise to see the International Whaling Commission named as a contender but the UK newspaper which made the accusation at the weekend was able to produce rather more evidence than is normally available about the members of FIfa's governing body.

The problem centres on the role of Japan which resents the strict limits on whale fishing imposed in recent years and seeks to find ways of evading them which often take place on land rather than at sea. When the moratorium on commercial whaling was first introduced in 1986 Japan sought exemption for “scientific whaling”, a loose definition which Norway and Iceland have also used to their advantage. But Japan's greatest strength is in the influence which it holds over many delegates to the annual Commission meetings, some of whom are from land-locked nations which have no interest in whaling at all.

The Commission is holding its annual meeting this week in the Channel Islands and as the host Britain is introducing a number of proposals for administrative changes in the way the Commission conducts its business that it hopes will lessen opportunities for bribery and corruption. With Japan's morale still low after earthquake and tsunami there is a hope that the proposed reforms will meet less opposition than in the past.

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