Japan Holds Firm on Whaling Programme

Japan Holds Firm on Whaling Programme

Japan is not backing down from its decision to pursue whaling despite the non-binding decision of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to limit Japanese ‘scientific whaling’ programme. Japan described the resolution as “regrettable”, but said it would proceed with a new round of culls in the Southern Ocean next year.

The resolution to curb Japan’s controversial “research programme” was reached on Thursday at the 65th meeting of the world’s whale conservation body, with the support 35 votes, 20 votes against and five abstentions.

According to the resolution, the country should respect the ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), reached earlier this year, which deemed Japan’s scientific whaling as illegal since it did not meet scientific criteria.

Namely, the meat of the slaughtered whales was being sold commercially in Japan.

Japanese Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga is quoted by BBC as saying that the new round of culls will be tailored so as to meet strict scientific conditions that allow whaling.

“We are now carrying out preparations for a new plan for scientific whaling to resume in the 2015/2016 year, a plan that takes the International Court ruling into account.” 

“Our actions are based on international law, scientific fact and the international whaling treaty,” Suga said.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, Netherlands, ordered Japan in April 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.

Shortly after the ruling the Government of Japan announced that it intends to return to the Southern Ocean to hunt whales in 2015.  The Government added that it will again send its factory whaling ship to hunt whales in the North Pacific, although it plans to target fewer whales.

World Maritime News Staff, September 22, 2014