Japan has confirmed that they will be cancelling their Antarctic whale hunt scheduled to start this April after the UN’s International Court of Justice ruled that their whaling expeditions were not “scientific” in nature and should be stopped immediately. This is the first time in almost a quarter of a century that they will not be doing the Antarctic hunt, much to the disappointment of Tokyo.
Even though they were deeply disappointed, government officials have said that they will abide by the ICJ’s decision, despite enormous pressure from local groups to leave ignore the ruling and even leave the International Whaling Commission for not respecting Japan’s cultural traditions. An official from the fisheries agency confirmed that there will be no whale hunt this month, but also said they will still push through with “research whaling in other areas as scheduled.” The other programs, including the coastal whaling program is not covered by the commercial whaling ban.
It took Australia four years to get a ruling from the ICJ since they brought the case against Japan back in 2010. They claim that Japan’s claim that their JARPA II research program, which was supposed to study whaling habits in a scientific manner, is just a cover for commercial whaling. The ICJ agreed with Australia and ordered an immediate stop to the program, but legal experts say Japan can come up with other loopholes, like trying to redesign their entire program. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he was “deeply disappointed” with the decision, but they will abide by it.
[ via The Guardian ]