Japan shrugs off embarrassing court loss

2014-06-10 13:41
(File AP)

(File AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Tokyo - An embarrassing court ruling that halted Japan's Antarctic whaling will actually help Tokyo take whales in the name of science, a top whaling official said just a day after the prime minister vowed to press for commercial whaling.

Tokyo's decades-old and disputed "scientific whaling" programme suffered a blow in March when the International Court of Justice (ICJ), in a surprise ruling, ordered a halt to annual hunts in the Southern Ocean.

Though Japan abandoned its Antarctic hunt for this year, it immediately vowed to retool its research programme with an eye to resuming it as early as the 2015-2016 season, and eventually to resume commercial whaling as well.

A new plan
It is carrying out a scaled-down version of its less known Northern Pacific hunt.

The court ruling was actually good for Japan by upholding the legal basis for whaling, said Joji Morishita, Japan's commissioner to the International Whaling Commission (IWC).

"The assumption of the court is that Japan could look at a new research plan", Morishita told a news conference in Tokyo.

"And that it's okay for Japan to propose a new plan which involves killing whales as long as it takes account of the reasoning and conclusions set by the ICJ at this time."

Though anti-whaling nations say the IWC should be acting to conserve whales, Japan and its allies argue that it was set up to manage whales as a resource, a stance Morishita said the court supported by saying the IWC's purpose remains the same.

In consideration of the ruling, Japan did cut its quota for the Pacific hunt, which extends from Japan's coastline out into a broad swath of the ocean, to 210 from 380.

Japan has long maintained that most whale species are not endangered and began what it called scientific whaling in 1987, a year after an international moratorium came into effect, despite growing global outrage, including from key allies such as the United States.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, himself hailing from one of Japan's major whaling areas, told a parliamentary committee on Monday that Tokyo would press ahead with its whaling plans.

"We will carry out surveys on whales with the aim of reviving commercial whaling", Abe said.

"I will also make further efforts to gain international understanding."

Though few Japanese now eat whale, the government argues that the meat is a part of Japanese food culture.

"Even if some country thinks that whales are special or sacred, as long as whales are sustainably utilized that view should not be forced on others", Morishita said.

"If people in India tried to impose their way of treatment of cows on the rest of the world and tried to promote prohibiting of eating at McDonald's or hamburgers, what would happen?"

Read more on:    iwc  |  shinzo abe  |  japan  |  marine life  |  conservation

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.