ICJ Orders Japan to Stop Whaling

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The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, Netherlands, has delivered its judgment in the case concerning the whaling in the Antarctic brought by Australia against Japan.

ICJ Orders Japan to Stop Whaling

In its ruling, which is final, the court has ordered Japan to stop hunting whales off Antarctica. The decision was reached by the ICJ’s 16-judge panel out of which 12 voted in favour of Australia’s argument that Japan’s whaling program was not scientific in nature but more commercial.

Despite the fact that for many Japanese consuming whale meat is part of their culture, just like eating beef or pork, the court said Japan’s current research program, known as JARPA II, “can broadly be characterized as scientific research, though the evidence does not establish that the program’s design and implementation are reasonable in relation to achieving its stated objectives. The Court concludes that the special permits granted by Japan for the killing, taking and treating of whales in connection with JARPA II are not for purposes of scientific research.”

Japan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Fumio Kishida commented on the decision, by saying: “The Court ruled that the Second Phase of the Japanese Whale Research Program under Special Permit in the Antarctic does not fall within Article 8, Clause 1 of International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW). Such a decision is very regrettable and I am deeply disappointed by the decision.

However, Japan is a country which places great importance on the international legal order and the rule of law. Therefore, the Government of Japan will abide by the Judgment of the Court. We will consider our concrete future course of actions carefully, upon studying what is stated in the judgment,” added Minister Kishida.

Happy with the decision, senior policy advisor for wildlife conservation at World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Mr. Leigh Henry said: “This is a true victory for whale conservation. Today’s ruling from the International Court of Justice finally puts an end to over three decades of whaling in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary, a critical feeding ground for many of the world’s whales.

Commercial whaling was banned worldwide in 1986. The Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica was declared a whale sanctuary eight years later. Despite these protections, Japan has hunted over 10,000 whales in the Southern Ocean since the moratorium was put in place.

Whaling in the Antarctic Judgment


WMN Staff, April 2, 2014

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