Japanese whaling to continue

2014-04-15 16:23
Japan whaling ship. (Institute of Cetacean Research, AP)

Japan whaling ship. (Institute of Cetacean Research, AP)

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

Tokyo - The group that conducts Japan's whaling says it expects to resume scientific whaling in the Antarctic after this year's hunt was cancelled following an order by an international court.

Last month's judgment by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered a halt to Japan's decades-old programme of "scientific whaling" in the Southern Ocean, a practice environmentalists condemn, but Tokyo said it would abide by the decision and has cancelled the 2014-2015 hunt.

But court papers filed in the United States by the Institute for Cetacean Research, which, with Kyodo Senpaku, actually carries out the whaling, said they expect to conduct hunts in future seasons, albeit with a modified programme.

In the filing in a Seattle court last week, the two groups sought an injunction against Sea Shepherd, an environmental group that has pursued Japan's whaling ships during their Antarctic hunts over the past few years.

They noted that the Japanese government had not granted permits for the next season.

"Plaintiffs expect they will be conducting a Southern Ocean research programme for subsequent seasons that would be in accord with the ICJ decision", they added, according to the papers, which were obtained by Reuters.

'Lethal sampling'

An Institute spokesperson declined to comment, citing the court case and adding that any decisions about whether it would resume whaling would be made by the government.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga on Tuesday reiterated that the government has yet to make a decision but it may not take much longer.

"At the moment we are carefully analysing the content of the ruling", Suga told a news conference. "After analyzing what the issues are, the government will come up with a policy course."

Japan has long maintained that most whale species are in no danger of extinction and scientific whaling is necessary to manage what it sees as a marine resource that, after World War Two, was an important protein source for an impoverished nation.

Japan also conducts separate hunts in the northern Pacific, while its fishermen engage in small-scale coastal whaling. An annual dolphin slaughter has also drawn harsh global criticism.

The ICJ ruling said no further licenses should be issued for scientific whaling, in which animals are first examined for research purposes before the meat is sold, noting that the research objectives had to be sufficient to "justify the lethal sampling".

Kyodo Senpaku, which owns Japan's whaling fleet, said on Tuesday it had urged agriculture minister Yoshimasa Hayashi to allow the northern Pacific whaling to take place as usual, national broadcaster NHK said.

"The minister gave us strong encouragement by saying that he would firmly consider it, given that the research itself was not gainsaid", Ito said. Company officials were not immediately available for comment.

At the time of the court ruling, observers said one possibility could indeed be for Japan to scale back its whaling plan and submit a new proposal that might be more acceptable in light of the ruling.

"When the ICJ verdict was issued, I could see the potential for the Institute for Cetacean Research to re-write their programme and to return", Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson said on the organisation's website.

"My prediction was that they would return for the 2015-2016 season. It seems that this is exactly what they intend to do."
Read more on:    icj  |  japan  |  marine life  |  environment

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.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

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
13 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

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

Hello 

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.

Settings

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.