Despite orders from the International Whaling Commission to halt its whaling activities, Tokyo, Japan announced its plans to restart its whale hunts in the Antarctic region in the winter season later this year.
The IWC’s Scientific Committee has ordered the cessation of Nippon’s whale catching since it has not given sufficient proof that it needs to kill the mammals for research.
The committee reported on Friday that it still had not decided on the merits of Japan’s argument on the necessity of the whale killings to generate scientific data for whale stock management and conservation. It can be recalled that the IWC experts’ panel had ruled in April against Japan’s contention, claiming (like it had the previous year) that the revised Japanese Antarctic whaling plan the country had submitted does not prove that Japan’s earlier hunts were not commercial by nature.
Since 1986, whale hunting for commercial purposes has been banned by the IWC. Japan, however, has continued its whaling operations, citing the research clause to obtain exemption. After the International Court of Justice (ICJ), United Nations’ principal judicial organ’s ruling, a Japanese team embarked on a “nonlethal research” to the Antarctic in 2014 season.
But Japanese officials disclosed that they will submit additional evidence to support their argument. According to a Japanese representative, Joji Morishita: “We have not changed any policies and our goal,” adding that Japan will answer sincerely to “scientifically backed comments”. .
The revised Tokyo proposal states that Japan will decrease its catch for the upcoming whaling season, taking 333 minke whales each year from 2015 to 2027, a mere one-third of its usual catch. In recent years, the Japanese government has been catching whales in lesser bulk for two apparent reasons: first, the demand for whale meat has decreased and second, as a result of an anti-whaling group, Sea Shepherd’s protests.