Whaling No More!

Australia has won a lawsuit against Japan’s Southern Ocean whaling program. The International Court of Justice has ordered the country to immediately cease the killing of whales in what Japan calls “scientific studies”.

whaling ecotourism whale watchingThe International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ruled Japan must immediately stop its whaling program in the Antarctic.The ICJ’s 16-judge panel ruled 12 votes to four in favour of Australia’s argument that Japan’s whaling program was not in fact designed and carried out for scientific purposes.The court ruled that Japan must revoke current whaling permits and refrain from issuing any more.Japan has used the 1946 International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, which permits killing for research, to justify killing whales in the Antarctic.But the court’s judges agreed with Australia that the Japanese research – two peer-reviewed papers since 2005, based on results obtained from just nine killed whales – was not proportionate to the number of animals killed.”In light of the fact the JARPA II [research program] has been going on since 2005, and has involved the killing of about 3,600 minke whales, the scientific output to date appears limited,” presiding judge Peter Tomka of Slovakia said.”Japan shall revoke any existent authorisation, permit or licence granted in relation to JARPA II and refrain from granting any further permits in pursuance to the program.”Japan signed a 1986 moratorium on whaling, but has continued to hunt up to 850 minke whales in the icy waters of the Southern Ocean each year.The ICJ’s ruling is final and there will be no appeal.A spokesman for the Japanese government said the court’s decision was “deeply disappointing”.”We are deeply disappointed and regret that the court ruled that Japan’s research whaling program in the Antarctic did not fall within the special permit clause of the treaty,” spokesman Nori Shikata told ABC NewsRadio.”However Japan will abide by the judgement of the court that places a great importance on the international legal order and the rule of law.”We will abide by the decision of the courts and although we will consider a concrete future course of action very carefully, upon studying what is stated in the judgement, we will cease the current research whaling program in the Antarctic pursuant to the judgement.”This is a final verdict and we are saying in a very straight forward way that we will abide by the judgement of the court.”While it has committed to abide by the court’s ruling, Japan would be free to continue whaling if it withdrew from the 1986 moratorium or the 1946 treaty.Japan had argued it had complied with the moratorium despite its 2,000-year tradition of whale hunting, leaving coastal communities in “anguish” because they can no longer practise their ancestral traditions.

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