Japan leaving International Whaling Commission

Dec 27, 2018, 02:43
Japan leaving International Whaling Commission

"As there may be worldwide criticism, I expect (the government) to try to gain the understanding of anti-whaling nations", he said, adding he hopes whaling for commercial use will be carried out under appropriate resource management in a similar manner to when the country's so-called research whaling was conducted.

"Regrettably, we have reached a decision that it is impossible in the IWC to seek the coexistence of states with different views".

Mr Peters said while ceasing whaling in the Southern Ocean was welcomed, it was sad to hear about the confirmation of their withdrawal.

Among members of the IWC, 41 are for whaling and 48 are against, according to the Fisheries Agency, but the organisation has been long-associated with lobbying and vote-buying allegations on both the pro- and anti-whaling sides.

Japan switched to what it calls research whaling and says stocks have recovered enough to resume the commercial hunt.

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Japan is now conducting research whaling in the Northwestern Pacific and the Antarctic Ocean, but it must halt such activities in those waters once it withdraws from the IWC.

Activist groups slammed Tokyo's decision, with Humane Society International saying Japan would become "a pirate whaling nation killing these ocean leviathans completely outside the bounds of international law".

Sam Annesley, head of Greenpeace Japan, said the Japanese announcement was, in his words, "out of step with the global community". The United Kingdom's environmental secretary Michael Gove was "extremely disappointed" in the decision and said the U.K.is "strongly opposed to commercial whaling".

It was not yet clear how many whales would be caught each year once Japan resumes commercial whaling, officials said. Tokyo has made similar threats before, but the Japanese delegation to the IWC hinted at the forthcoming withdrawal in the strongest language yet at the closing in September of the IWC's formal meeting in Brazil (Greenwire, Sept. 14).

"I think it's a big deal in terms of the intention to resume commercial whaling", she said. "What's most important is to have a diverse and stable food supply", he said.

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Today, whale stocks are carefully monitored, and while many species are still endangered, others - like the minke whale that Japan primarily hunts - are not.

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

A Japanese whaling ship leaves the port of Shimonoseki in Yamaguchi prefecture, western Japan to resume whale hunting in the Antarctic.

Japan will resume commercial whaling in July 2019 after a 30-year absence "in line with Japan's basic policy of promoting sustainable use of aquatic living resources based on scientific evidence", he said. It's a fraction of the country's whale meat supply of about 200,000 tons before the IWC moratorium.

But doubts exist about whether Japanese commercial whaling can be economically viable, especially as fewer people than ever are eating whale meat, they said.

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But the bid failed, with strong opposition from anti-whaling nations - led by Australia, the European Union and the US.