Japan lawmakers demand continued whaling

Apr 16, 2014
This photo taken received on February 18 from Sea Shepherd Australia Ltd. shows Japanese whaling fleet's harpoon vessel Yushin Maru No. 2, with a minke whale in the Southern Ocean

Japanese lawmakers on Wednesday demanded the government redesign its "research" whaling programme to circumvent an international court ruling that described the programme as a commercial hunt dressed up as science.

The 40-strong fisheries committee, made up of a cross-section of members of the lower house, unanimously passed a resolution urging the administration study "all sorts of options, including walking out of the (international whaling) convention".

It said the ruling earlier this month by the International Court of Justice was "truly regrettable" but "does not necessarily prevent Japan's whaling, which is a unique tradition and culture".

The panel demanded the government find a way to continue the research operation "so as to play a responsible role as the only country in the world with a scientific approach".

The parliamentarians also demanded the government swiftly draw up a plan to replace the banned Antarctic whaling operation and fully prepare for a new programme while circulating "whale meat—a by-product of research whaling—appropriately as before".

Although it is a signatory to the International Whaling Convention (IWC), which bans the commercial hunting of the mammals, Japan has used a loophole that allows for "lethal research".

It said it was perfectly proper for people to consume the meat that was the inevitable by-product of the killing.

Environmentalists have maintained the science is a figleaf. Australia hauled Japan before the ICJ in The Hague over its programme.

Judges there ruled 12-4 in Canberra's favour and Tokyo said it was calling the 2014-15 hunt off.

But legal papers submitted in the United States reportedly showed the Institute for Cetacean Research, the body in Japan that carries out the whaling programme, intends to return to the Southern Ocean the following year with a redesigned scheme.

Japan on Monday insisted it had made no decision on whether to resume its Antarctic whaling.

Tokyo is also studying whether it should go ahead with another research whaling programme in the northwestern Pacific, to which the fleet was originally scheduled to sail later this month.

This hunt, which is not affected by the court ruling, operates two excursions a year, in coastal waters and offshore, from early summer through autumn.

Amid the deliberation, the whaling industry invited lawmakers to an annual buffet of all manner of whale meat on Tuesday, including sashimi.

Takashi Tanuma, a member of the Japan Restoration Party, tweeted from there: "(The whaling industry) argue the international ruling only applies to the Southern Ocean programme, but the government may expand it to operations in other regions, which must not be accepted."

Explore further: Japan kills 251 minke whales in final Antarctic hunt

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Japan says no decision on 2015-16 whaling

Apr 14, 2014

Japan on Monday insisted it had made no decision on whether to resume whaling in the Southern Ocean next year, after a militant environmental group said Tokyo intended to evade an international court ruling.

Japan whaling fleet returns from Antarctic

Apr 05, 2014

A whaling fleet anchored at a Japanese port Saturday after Tokyo said it would cancel its annual hunt for the first time in more than 25 years to abide by a UN court ruling.

Japan cancels next Antarctic whaling hunt after ICJ ruling

Apr 03, 2014

Japan said Thursday it was cancelling its annual Antarctic whaling hunt for the first time in more than a quarter of a century in line with a UN court ruling that the programme was a commercial activity disguised ...

Recommended for you

French beetles tackle Great Southern cattle dung

20 hours ago

A two-year survey of dung beetle populations in Australia's south-west has pinpointed Kojonup as the WA release site most likely to establish a new population of French dung beetles.

Norway fishermen post record-breaking whale haul

Aug 25, 2014

Fishermen in Norway have caught 729 whales this year, the highest number since it resumed the controversial practice in defiance of international pressure, industry sources said on Monday.

User comments : 0