Japan Will Resume Commercial Whaling, but Not in Antarctic

28 December, 2018, 09:43 | Author: Kristi Owen
  • A minke whale is unloaded at a port after a whaling for scientific purposes in Kushiro

"We have made a decision to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission in order to resume commercial whaling in July next year", top government spokesman Yoshihide Suga told reporters.

But the hunt will be geographically limited, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a news conference, Reuters reported.

Japan's announcement had been widely expected and comes after Japan failed in a bid earlier this year to convince the IWC to allow it to resume commercial whaling.

The nation has lobbied against the global moratorium since inception, expressing the belief that many species are not endangered and reinforcing the notion that whale meat is central to Japanese culture.

JAKE STURMER: This is an unprecedented move for Japan - to leave a major worldwide organisation like this is extremely rare.

Former Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera, who now serves as adviser to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's fisheries committee, said he supported a decision to withdraw from the IWC, in an interview with Japan's NHK television.

"The government of Japan must urgently act to conserve marine ecosystems, rather than resume commercial whaling", he added.

'Japan will now join Norway and Iceland as rogue outlaw whaling nations in the North Pacific and the North Atlantic. In 1987, Japan switched to what is calls research whaling, but the program has been criticized as a cover for commercial hunting since the meat is sold on the market at home.

Much of the meat ends up in shops, even though most Japanese no longer eat it. Whale consumption accounted for 0.1 percent of all Japanese meat consumption, according to the Asahi newspaper.

The Japanese Government has pulled out of the International Whaling Commission (IWC).

While Japan came out of the ICC will not be able to continue catching whales for so called scientific research in Antarctica, which were allowed under the Antarctic Treaty. The image was captured by Australian customs agents in 2008 as part of a surveillance effort to collect evidence of indiscriminate harvesting, which is contrary to Japan's claim that whales are being collected for scientific research. He said that group was meant to facilitate the development of the whaling industry, as well as conserve whale populations. "On the other hand, Japan is also recognizing that there is no fully legal path to high-seas commercial whaling, nor was there sufficient demand to make it economically viable".

Japan's request for a resumption of commercial whaling was most recently denied at the IWC meeting in September. As the Japanese news media reported last week that a withdrawal from the whaling commission was being considered, Paul Watson, Sea Shepherd's founder, said in a statement that he considered it good news.

Japanese Fisheries Agency official and long-time IWC negotiator Hideki Moronuki said Japan would use the IWC's method to carefully determine a catch quota on the basis of science, but declined to give an estimate. "What's most important is to have a diverse and stable food supply", he said. Whale hunting has become a rare thorny subject in Japan's otherwise largely amiable foreign policy, with worldwide opposition only prompting conservatives to dig in deeper in support of the tradition.

Japan was ordered to halt its whaling program in the Antarctic in 2014, when the International Court of Justice ruled the annual practice - which has killed thousands of whales since 2005 - had not produced enough scientific data to justify its existence. Whale meat reportedly makes up well under 1% of the meat consumed annually in Japan.



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