Eschewing ostentatious weddings is a worthy goal

Courtney Martin did a wonderful job with her June 15 Opinion piece, "Saying 'I don't' to expensive weddings." Hear, hear! It's nice to know that there is at least one young woman in this age of excessive materialism who doesn't feel the need to be "Queen for the Day."

I'm hoping there are more women like Ms. Martin, as I have a 20-year-old, non materialist son who aspires to be a writer. May Martin and her "ungroom" live happily ever after, creating a life of joy and commitment, not financial overcommitment.
Charleen Heidt
Ithaca, N.Y.

Courtney Martin offers fascinating reasons why she and her boyfriend, Nik, say "I don't" to the current costly and indulgent trends in wedding practices. I don't understand, though, why this choice not to be conspicuous consumers deters them from getting married.

How about eloping? Go for it, Courtney and Nik. Our world needs good marriages, regardless of the wedding ceremony. You don't need to compromise conscience. If the idea of the marriage commitment itself is worthwhile, strengthening, and will bless you and others through the years, please reconsider. Please say, "We do!"
Beverly Scott
Camden, Maine

Japan is all for preserving whale species

We would like to raise a few points regarding your June 2 editorial "Save the whales – by not buying Japanese." Your editorial asserts that "Japan has spent heavily to influence poor countries that are members of the International Whaling Commission (IWC)." This is a misleading statement. Japan has been contributing 20 to 25 percent of the world's official development assistance (ODA) and today is the world's No. 2 ODA donor. Japan's continuous assistance to the self-help of many developing countries, such as the Southeast Asian nations, has contributed to their rapid economic progress.

It should be noted that most of the antiwhaling countries have received Japan's ODA. To imply that Japan is buying votes, with the aim of reversing a 1986 IWC ban, is totally unacceptable.

The fifth paragraph mentions that "Japanese data and arguments that many whale species are fully revived should remain suspect." The IWC scientific committee's reports have clearly shown that many species of whales have recovered and others are recovering. Japan has been advocating the sustainable use of the abundant species of whales, as well as making efforts to preserve the species whose stocks are deteriorating.

As mentioned in the sixth paragraph, whale meat is indeed sold in Japan, but this is a requirement set forth by Article VIII of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling. The Article requires that a whale caught through research activities for scientific purposes be processed so far as practicable. Japan conducts whale research for scientific purposes only. It is not to be considered as disguised commercial whaling.

The seventh paragraph suggests that the "resurgence of nationalism" in Japan may be behind the pro-whaling initiative. Although it is unclear what is meant by this expression, to connect nationalism with the whaling issue amounts to a false accusation. Japan has consistently been advocating the reopening of commercial whaling under scientific management.
Yuzo Sekigawa
Consul for Information and Cultural Affairs Consulate General of Japan

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