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The Whaling War - a possible future history (Consolidated)

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The Whaling War - a possible future history


The Japanese practice of “scientific whaling” had long been a controversial issue.  In 2008 the debate really started to heat up as claim and counter claim flew between those opposed and for the practice.  Following the end of the 2007/2008 season in March, the rhetoric on both sides refused to die down.  In April, Japan declared that it had had enough of the joke it called the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and was withdrawing.  It immediately joined the North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission (NAMMCO), a group led by Norway, Iceland, Greenland and openly in support of commercial whaling – the world waited to see what the following season would bring…

…at the same time, a group led by militant offshoots of the Sea Shepherd (already deemed by most as being militant) and Greenpeace protest groups joined forces with a number of wealthy American, European and Australian supporters.  They too had had enough of the IWC.  They decided that Japan’s whaling had to be stopped, and if the world wouldn’t do something about it then they would.  To this end, they discretely purchased 3 ex-USN S-3B Vikings.  These were stripped of most systems and would only carry a crew of 2.  The trade-off, being an increased range.  In addition, the group, known as the Cetacean Defence Force (CDF), also managed to acquire a small number of AGM-84 Harpoon ASMs (it was understood that these were supplied with the unofficial blessing of the US Government who wanted to see the Japanese whaling stopped).  With the assistance of a number of ex-military pilots and groundcrew, the Vikings were soon ready and were quietly shipped to a remote landing strip on the South Island of New Zealand…

First Strike

… November 2008, a Japanese whaling fleet, larger than ever before headed to the Southern ocean to begin it’s first openly commercial whaling season in many years.  As they passed to the east of New Zealand, the CDF struck.  A single Viking launched a Harpoon towards the fleet.  Having no real defences, the result was as can be imagined.  Within minutes the main Japanese mother ship was in flames and sinking fast.

The event reverberated around the world.  Japan openly called it an act of terrorism and demanded the perpetrators be arrested and handed over immediately.  However with public support in most western countries (and especially Australia and New Zealand) against the Japanese, the New Zealand Government conveniently stated that they could not find the people in question nor their supposed base (as it was, they weren’t lying as the CDF had already moved to a new base operating from the west coast of Tasmania).  A UN Security council meeting also failed after US and European members blocked any attempt to take action.  The Japanese decided that they would need to deal with this themselves and thus decided to once again send the Whaling fleet south (it had turned back following the attack).  This time it would be escorted by two JMSDF destroyers – the Atago and Kirishima.  At the same time Japan decided to also have an air presence in the South.  However, with its first Hyūga-class quasi-carrier (technically a helicopter destroyer) still not ready for action, it approached the Government of Thailand and purchased the HTMS Chakri Naruebet along with its fleet of AV-8Ss outright.  Following a 2 week crash program (it was later revealed that Japan had long planned this as a contingency plan and had already covertly trained personnel in the use of the AV-8s), this was soon ready to also go south…


...the next blood would be drawn by the Japanese.  Believing that all protestors were in the same boat, they decided to provide a lesson in force.  Unfortunately for the Sea Shepard ship, the Steve Irwin, they would be on the receiving end of that lesson (the Japanese had already had enough of this ship the previous season).  On the evening of the 15th December 2008, after giving 5 minutes warning to abandon the ship, the Kirishima opened fire on the ship.  Within minutes it had sunk with the loss of over half the crew.  This action was loudly condemned in the western media with calls for international action to cease this violence in the Southern ocean.  However before anything could happen, the CDF struck again.

This time 2 Vikings approached the Japanese fleet at low level in the midst of a storm (the crews knew their jobs and were dedicated).  Each aircraft fired 2 Harpoons.  3 of these struck home leaving another 2 whaling ships sinking.  At the time, the Atago was not with the fleet having left to escort the newly renamed Akagi (ex Chakri Naruebet) carrier.  The Kirishima tried to defend the fleet but was unable to detect the missiles in time (having never even gained sight of the launch aircraft amidst the storm).

Believing Western Governments (especially Australia and New Zealand) were actively complicit in this action, Japan decided to strike back…


…having identified what they believed to be the main CDF operating base in Tasmania, the Japanese launched an attack from the Akagi with 6 AV-8s.  Each was equipped with a single laser guided bomb (the Japanese having modified the aircraft on-route to carry a small laser designator pod).  On the evening of the 23rd December, the aircraft streaked in from the South West and dropped their bombs on the airfield.  They were only able to catch one Viking on the ground though, the others being already in the air looking for the Japanese fleet again.  Never-the-less, the mission was deemed a success in Japan, with the airfield facilities left ablaze.

In Australia though, the media (and much of the public it must be admitted), were furious.  Given the name of the Japanese carrier, the media very quickly called this Australia’s Pearl Harbour and demanded that this be declared an act of war…

A Pause

…over the Christmas/New Year period, the diplomatic corps on both sides worked non-stop.  The UN was called in and resolutions calling for an end to this craziness were tabled.  However, both sides refused to back down.  Japan now had the open backing of Norway, Iceland and Greenland as well as from a host of smaller countries (many bought off by Japan it was argued).

In preparation of further action, the operational commissioning of the Hyūga was being brought forward.  This would soon be ready to also leave Japan.  Although, there were at this stage no further Harriers available (India was being approached with large cash offers for Sea Harriers), a combination of SH-60Js and AH-64 Apaches were ready for embarkation.  The Apaches had already been quickly modified to carry Mitsubishi AAM-3s in addition to their AGM-114 Hellfires.

More ominously, the JSDF also started implementation of plans to base conventional land based combat aircraft closer to the area.  This consisted of a squadron each of F-15Js and F-2s based in Fiji and West Indonesia respectively.  Each detachment was supported by a pair of KC-767s and an E-2C.  Additionally, a pair of ShinMaywa US-2 flying boats also moved south…


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