Japan will resume commercial whaling in 2019

26 December, 2018, 19:06 | Author: Kelly Sanders
  • A minke whale caught in research whaling is unloaded in Ishinomaki Miyagi Prefecture

After Japan's request to adapt the ban fell on deaf ears at the IWC's meeting in September, Suga said, "it unveiled the fact that it is not possible in the IWC even to seek the coexistence of States with different views".

Yoshihide Suga, chief cabinet secretary, assured the public that commercial whaling "will be limited to Japan's territorial waters and exclusive economic zones". "We will not hunt in the Antarctic waters or in the southern hemisphere", Suga added. Japanese ambassador Masaki Saito was visiting earlier this year.

"As a result of modern fleet technology, overfishing in both Japanese coastal waters and high seas areas has led to the depletion of many whale species", Greenpeace International said. "Critics say the practice is a cover for what actually amounts to commercial whaling.It means that whales can be taken for scientific studies and the meat can later be sold for consumption", the BBC says.

New Zealand's Foreign Minister Winston Peters also urged Japan to stay in the IWC.

Japan has hunted whales for centuries, and their meat was a key source of protein in the immediate post-World War II years when the country was desperately poor.

Saito said many residents in the district are looking forward to the hoped-for benefits linked to the industry's restart, saying it may increase employment, revive the industry and allow them to eat more whale meat.

An executive at Humane Society International decried "the path of a pirate whaling nation".

Influential lawmakers in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party whose constituencies include whaling communities have long lobbied for a resumption of commercial whaling.


Suga said that "although scientific evidence has confirmed that certain whale species/stocks of whales are abundant", anti-whaling countries remain focused "exclusively on the protection of whales".

Officials have been reacting to the news of Japan's withdrawal from the International Whaling Commission (IWC), with the NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade working on understanding the implications.

Mr Lawry said he suspected Japan's decision was a way to "save face" and back out of whaling in the Southern Ocean.

"The declaration today is out of step with the global community, let alone the protection needed to safeguard the future of our oceans and these majestic creatures", said Sam Annesley, executive director at Greenpeace Japan.

According to the BBC, a statement by Japan's government said the IWC was not committed enough to one of its goals, of supporting sustainable commercial whaling.

Japan is the biggest financial contributor to the IWC, which may now have to find ways to replace lost funding.

Mr Suga said: "At the IWC general meeting in September this year it became evident once again that those supporting the sustainable use of whale stocks and those supporting protection can not co-exist, leading us to this conclusion".

The withdrawal means Japan joins Iceland and Norway in openly defying the IWC's ban on commercial whale hunting.

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