Action Alert


February 16, 2012

Fumika Kokubu
Senior Managing Executive Officer
Regional CEO for the Americas
Marubeni America Corporation Head Office
375 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10017-5644


Dear Mr. Kokubu,

On behalf of thousands of members and supporters of the American Cetacean Society(ACS) worldwide, I am writing to express my grave disappointment to learn that Marubeni’s subsidiary companies Maruetsu, Daiei, Tobu and Big A sell whale, dolphin, and porpoise products.  Furthermore, I strongly urge Marubeni to take immediate action to cease and desist the sale of all products derived from whales, dolphins, and porpoises (collectively known as ‘cetaceans’).

Founded in 1967, the mission of ACS is to protect whales, dolphins, and porpoises and their habitats through public education, research grants, and conservation actions.  Our organization diligently works to oppose direct killing of these species for commercial trade in their products as well as other human-induced threats from pollution, bycatch, vessel strikes, and the impacts of climate change. Our efforts to safeguard these animals extend worldwide, both in the United States and through NGO partnerships in Europe to reduce human-induced pressures on the health and safety of these animals.

Recent surveys of 50 Maruetsu stores confirm that 88% are selling one or more whale products.  Of 50 Daiei stores, 49% (24 stores) were confirmed as selling one or more whale products. Of 169 Big A stores surveyed, 30% (50 stores) were confirmed as selling one or more whale products.  A survey of 56 Tobu stores confirmed that 55% (31 stores) selling one or more whale products.1

Great whales are protected under several international conservation agreements including the Convention on the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Under the ICRW, commercial hunting is prohibited by the 1982 decision to enact an international moratorium, beginning in the 1985 coastal season and the 1986 pelagic season. CITES prohibits international trade in products derived from great whales.

The sale of whale products has been documented in hundreds of supermarkets operated by Maruetsu, Daiei, Tobu and Big A, derived from species that are protected by the above mentioned international legal agreements.

I note that Marubeni’s Corporate Social Responsibility policy requires observance of international environmental laws and regulations.  Although this policy is qualified to be in “the country concerned” it is clear that protection of great whales and other cetacean species is both an international and national legal obligation.  Although the Government of Japan has issued national permits to catch whales and dolphins for purposes of commercial trade, these activities are an open abuse of international policies designed to protect vulnerable species.

As a multinational company with operations in 70 countries, Marubeni is obligated to uphold international conservation agreements that prohibit commercial trade in the protected whale species and to be responsive to the concerns of its international consumers.

Consequently, we respectfully appeal to you to take immediate action to end all sales of whale and cetacean products in Maruetsu, Daiei, Tobu and Big A stores and in any other subsidiaries or affiliated companies including those that wholesale seafood products.  Most of Japan’s largest retailers, such as Ito Yokado, Seiyu and AEON have already enacted a general ban on the sale of whale and other cetacean products.

Thank you, Mr. Kokubu, for your time and sincere consideration.  I welcome an opportunity to meet with you and provide any further information that will assist in your efforts to enact a complete prohibition on the sale of all such products by your subsidiaries and affiliated companies.  Please do not hesitate to contact me by email at or by phone at 310-548-6279 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. PST.


Cheryl M. McCormick, Ph.D.
Executive Director
American Cetacean Society


1 Source:  Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), Washington, DC, 2012