Sunday, 24 March, 2019


Japan considers leaving IWC to resume commercial whale hunts

Japan considers leaving IWC to resume commercial whale hunts Japan considers leaving IWC to resume commercial whale hunts
Kristine Garrett | 22 December, 2018, 13:40

Japan has chose to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission in a bid to resume commercial whaling, government sources said Thursday.

Both stressed Tokyo has not yet changed its whaling policy but Japan threatened to pull out of the IWC in September when the commission rejected its bid to return to commercial whaling.

"There are fishermen in Japan making their living by whaling and we can't simply end it", one of the officials said.

At September's IWC meeting in Florianópolis, Brazil, anti-whaling nations led by Australia, the European Union and the USA voted down a Japanese proposal to change the decision-making process - a move that would have made it easier for Japan to secure enough votes to end the commercial whaling ban.

Japan can not continue research whaling in the Antarctic Ocean if it pulls out of the IWC.

If withdrawing, Japan has to notify IWC by January 1, according to Kyodo News.

Supporters of whaling say that it is a Japanese tradition and that foreign critics who consume farmed and hunted animals are hypocrites. It is extremely rare for Japan to withdraw from an global organization.

Its rationale could be also questioned as it is a member of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea that calls for the use and conservation of marine resources via worldwide organizations.

Interested in Japan? Add Japan as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Japan news, video, and analysis from ABC News.

Australian Environment Minister Melissa Price said her government is aware of Japan's plans to withdraw from the IWC but would "strongly prefer" that it remains a member.

1994 - Japan launches research whaling in the Northwest Pacific.

Japan has long towed the line with the IWC, which was established in 1948.

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. For instance, Norway and Iceland use technical objections to get around the ban, and Japan historically has claimed it was hunting whales for scientific purposes, The Guardian reported. It is this exception that allows Japan's whaling fleet to embark on its yearly hunt in the icy waters of Antarctica.

1988 - Japan halts commercial whaling.

Moreover, in 2014, the United Nations' International Court of Justice ordered that Japan stop its annual hunts in the Antarctic Ocean, because these hunts were clearly not for scientific purposes but rather for dinner menus.

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