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AGADIR, Morocco – Accusations that Japan uses aid money and personal favors to buy votes have quietly circulated for years around the International Whaling Commission, which oversees the conservation of the whales that Japan regularly hunts.
Now, a sting operation by a London newspaper that secretly filmed officials from six developing countries negotiating for bribes has brought such allegations into the open, at least in the corridors of the commission's annual meeting.
For some of Japan's harshest critics, the Sunday Times catching officials on tape acknowledging they received benefits from Japan was proof of undue influence on the 88-nation commission, which in its most important meeting in decades is considering a proposal for a 10-year suspension of the 1986 ban on commercial whaling.