Despite court ruling, Japan eyes return to whaling
TOKYO — An embarrassing court ruling that halted Japan's Antarctic whaling will help Tokyo kill whales in the name of science, a top whaling official said just a day after the prime minister vowed to press for commercial whaling.
Tokyo's decades-old and disputed “scientific whaling” program suffered a blow in March when the International Court of Justice, in a surprise ruling, ordered a halt to annual hunts in the Southern Ocean.
Though Japan abandoned its Antarctic hunt for this year, it immediately vowed to retool its research program with an eye to resuming it as early as the 2015-2016 season, and eventually to resume commercial whaling as well.
It is carrying out a scaled-down version of its less known Northern Pacific hunt.
The court ruling was actually good for Japan by upholding the legal basis for whaling, said Joji Morishita, Japan's commissioner to the International Whaling Commission.
“The assumption of the court is that Japan could ... look at a new research plan,” Morishita said in Tokyo.
“And that it's OK for Japan to propose a new plan which involves killing whales as long as it takes account of the reasoning and conclusions set by the ICJ at this time.”
Though anti-whaling nations say the IWC should be acting to conserve whales, Japan and its allies argue that it was set up to manage whales as a resource, a stance Morishita said the court supported by saying the IWC's purpose remains the same.
In consideration of the ruling, Japan cut its quota for the Pacific hunt, which extends from Japan's coastline out into a broad swath of the ocean, to 210 whales from 380.
Japan has long maintained that most whale species are not endangered and began what it called scientific whaling in 1987, a year after an international moratorium went into effect, despite growing global outrage, including from key allies such as the United States.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, himself hailing from one of Japan's major whaling areas, told a parliamentary panel on Monday that Tokyo would press ahead with its whaling plans.
“We will carry out surveys on whales with the aim of reviving commercial whaling,” Abe said. “I will also make further efforts to gain international understanding.”
Though few Japanese now eat whale, the government argues that the meat is a part of Japanese food culture.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Iraqi Kurds to send fighters to aid Kobani
- 2 dead in shooting attack at Canada’s Parliament
- Lone gunman kills monument guard, attacks Canada’s Parliament
- 10 hurt in bombing at Cairo University
- Libyan troops seek to retake Benghazi
- American baby killed, 8 hurt as car plows into crowd at Jerusalem train station
- Putin, EU leaders to meet amid strain
- Loophole rewards expelled Nazi suspects with Social Security benefits
- Abbas seems desperate in round of belligerent rhetoric
- French oil CEO killed when private jet collides with snowplow during takeoff in Moscow
- ISIS claims it grabs U.S. military ware