Despite repeated refusals by the Australian federal government, Japan continues to state that it would be open to Australia sending a customs or navy vessel to the Southern Ocean to monitor the annual whale hunt. Tetsuro Amano, Japan’s deputy head of mission to Australia, says the country would welcome such a vessel as it would witness first-hand the conduct of anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd.
Amano said in an interview at the Japanese Embassy in Canberra that the Australian government would better understand their situation if they will launch a customs vessel in the future. Japan has continued its claims that it was the Sea Shepherd that provoked February’s violent clashes in the Southern Ocean, where the whale hunts take place, during which the Bob Barker ship collided with a Japanese whaling support vessel. Amano reiterated that the Sea Shepherd had acted like pirates, and it was the responsibility of all nations, including Australia, to maintain maritime safety for all in Antarctica.
Environment Minister Tony Burke, saying that Australia settles its disputes in court not the “carpark”, has repeatedly declined this proposal. His argument is that sending military vessels into the fray would risk escalating the already tense situation. Australia’s solution is still to wait for the outcome of its legal action against Japan at the International Court of Justice, a complaint the country launched in 2010. The Australian government has accused Japan of running a large-scale whaling program and killing humpback and fin whales in a protected sanctuary, though it’s not known when the ICJ will hand down its verdict.
[ via Perth Now ]