Japan to Start Its Whaling Campaign Again in 2016Keith
Japan to Start Its Whaling Campaign Again
Japan has announced it will start whaling in the Antarctic early in 2016 after a break of over than a year.
The decision comes despite an International Court of Justice ruling that Japan stops all whaling.
The Japanese government says it has taken into account the court ruling and its “scientific” whaling programme will be greatly reduced.
But the announcement has been condemned by environmental groups and the Australian and UK governments.
“We do not accept in any way, shape or form the idea of killing whales for so-called ‘scientific research’,” said Australian Environment Minister Greg Hunt.
“We are deeply disappointed with Japan’s decision to go whaling again in the Southern Ocean,” said the UK environment ministry, Defra. “This undermines the global ban on commercial whaling which the UK strongly supports.”
Japan’s whaling fleet could set sail again within months and sail for the Southern Ocean, says the BBC’s Rupert Wingfield Hayes in Tokyo.
Under Japan’s revised plan, it will reduce the number of Minke whales caught each year by two thirds to 333.
The Japanese authorities believe their plan is scientifically reasonable but it is unlikely to placate opponents, in particular the Australian government.
In 2014 Australia won a court case against Japan in the international court of justice in Holland.
The court ruled that Japan’s “scientific” whaling program was not scientific at all – and ordered Japan to recall all of its fleet.
Crucially, the ruling stated that it did not believe it was necessary for Japan to kill whales in order to study them, our correspondent says.
Japan started its whaling programme in the late 1980s, after an international moratorium was enacted.
It accuses critics of being sentimental about whales and disregarding scientific evidence about the sustainability of whaling.
The ICJ says Japan has caught some 3,600 Minke whales since its current programme began in 2005.