Japan to Resume Hunting Whales After 30-Year Ban

22 December, 2018, 13:40 | Author: Kelly Sanders
  • Crew members measure a minke whale caught during research whaling

Japan will withdraw from an global organization established to limit whale hunts in an apparent attempt to resume commercial whaling, according to Japanese media outlets. According to the country, the hunt is defensible because the whale population has risen sharply. Japan had been threatened previously, and, if necessary, from the IWC to withdraw. A foreign ministry official confirmed "all options are on the table but nothing formal has been decided yet".

Japan also suggested in 2007 that it might withdraw from the IWC, in protest at the ban on commercial whaling, but it was later persuaded by the United States and other countries to remain in the organization.

After a tense September vote in Brazil, the IWC rejected Japan's bid to return to commercial whaling, prompting vice-minister for fisheries Masaaki Taniai to say Tokyo would be "pressed to undertake a fundamental reassessment of its position as a member of the IWC".

The professor of zoology at the University of Otago said Japan's move may trigger other pro-whaling nations like Norway and Denmark to also withdraw.

Japan halted commercial whaling in 1982 in line with a moratorium adopted by the IWC.

The nation's attempts over the last 30 years to resume commercial whaling of relatively abundant species such as minke whales have always been stymied by countries such as Australia and New Zealand.

Authorities in Japan say eating whales is a piece of its way of life.

Japan's request for a resumption of commercial whaling was most recently denied at the IWC meeting in September.

Japanese whaling officials said the whaling organisation is supposed to pursue sustainability but has become an anti-whaling body.

Japan will inform the IWC of its decision by the end of the year, according to Kyodo news agency.

Interested in Japan? Add Japan as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Japan news, video, and analysis from ABC News. Japan's Antarctic catch is now capped at 333 whales a year - about a third of the quota before a 2014 International Court of Justice ruling found that Japanese research whaling wasn't sufficiently scientific.

Japan has previously threatened to quit the IWC, arguing that the moratorium was supposed to be a temporary measure and accusing the IWC of abandoning its original goal - managing the sustainable use of global whale stocks.

Japan needs to notify the IWC by January 1 if it wished to leave.



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