Japan Confirms “Whales Win!”…For Now

(JAPANESE WHALING/OCEAN CONSERVATION) Earlier this week, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society announced the whales have finally won the dreaded whale wars. After an eight-year battle, the courts finally ruled that Japan’s Southern Ocean whaling was not for scientific research. Thus, all permits given under JAPRA II will be revoked.

In an even bigger announcement, Japan has canceled its annual Antarctic whale hunt, and plan to honor the above-mentioned court ruling.

Although they have canceled their annual Antarctic Whale hunting trip this year, there is no promise they will end the whale hunt in other areas outside of the Antarctic.

Continue reading to find out more about the court ruling, and Japan’s plans to try and continue their cruel whale “research.” — Global Animal

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The Japanese whaling fleet on the run from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Photo credit: Barbara Veiga/Sea Shepherd

The Guardian, Agence France-Presse

Japan has cancelled its annual Antarctic whaling hunt for the first time in more than a quarter of a century, in line with a UN court ruling that the program was a commercial activity disguised as science.

The tails of two 35 tonne Fin whales are bound to a Hvalur boat off the coast of Hvalfjsrour in 2009. e1305849892862 Japan Confirms Whales Win!...For Now

The tails of two 35-tonne Fin whales are bound to a Hvalur boat off the coast of Hvalfjsrour, in 2009. Photo credit: AFP/File/Halldor Kolbeins

A “deeply disappointed” Tokyo said earlier this week it would honour Monday’s judgement by the international court of justice (ICJ) in The Hague, but did not exclude the possibility of future whaling programs.

On Thursday, officials said the next Antarctic hunt, which would have started later this year, had been scrapped, just weeks after the most recent one finished.

“We have decided to cancel research whaling [in the Antarctic] for the fiscal year starting in April because of the recent ruling,” a fisheries agency official told AFP.

But he added that “we plan to go ahead with research whaling in other areas as scheduled”, including the northern Pacific. Japan also has a coastal whaling program that is not covered by a commercial whaling ban.

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The Sea Shepherd fleet attacks Japanese whalers. Photo Credit: Sea Shepherd

Australia, backed by New Zealand, hauled Japan before the ICJ in 2010 in a bid to end the annual Southern Ocean hunt.

Tokyo has used a legal loophole in the 1986 ban on commercial whaling that allowed it to continue slaughtering the mammals, ostensibly so it could gather scientific data.

However, it has never made a secret of the fact that the whale meat from these hunts can end up on dining tables.

Public consumption of whale meat in Japan has steadily fallen in recent years.

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A Metropolitan Police Department boat escorts the Japan’s government-backed research whaling vessel Shonan Maru No. 2 on the way to Harumi pier in Tokyo. Photo Credit: AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye, File

Japan had argued that its JARPA II research program was aimed at studying the viability of whale hunting, but the ICJ found it had failed to examine ways of doing the research without killing whales, or at least while killing fewer of them.

On Wednesday, Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe said his government would abide by the court ruling, but added that the ruling was “a pity and I am deeply disappointed”.

Some legal experts have suggested Japan might simply redesign its whaling program to skirt the ICJ ruling, but Australia and New Zealand are expected to keep up the diplomatic pressure to ensure Tokyo abides by the spirit of the pronouncement.

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