International Court of Justice Ends Japanese Antarctic Whaling

japan-whaling-1aGreat news. The UN’s highest court has ruled against Japanese Antarctic whaling. The Japanese have notionally supported the commercial whaling moratorium adopted in 1982 but have exploited a loophole which allows for whaling for “scientific research.”  As we posted last June, the the government of Australia, supported by New Zealand, filed a suit asking the International Court to halt the Japanese whaling fleet’s annual trips to harpoon minke and fin whales. Today, the International Court of Justice at the Hague ordered a temporary halt to Japan’s Antarctic whaling program, ruling that it is not for scientific purposes as the Japanese government had claimed.  As reported by CBC News:

Reading a 12-4 decision by the court’s 16-judge panel, Presiding Judge Peter Tomka said Japan’s program fails to justify the large number of minke whales it says it needs to catch under its current Antarctic program — 850 annually — and it doesn’t catch that many anyway. It also didn’t come close to catching the 50 fin and 50 humpback whales it aimed to take…  All that drew into doubt Japan’s assertion that its whaling is for scientific purposes, he said…

“The court concludes that the special permits granted by Japan for the killing, taking, and treating of whales … are not ‘for purposes of scientific research’,” Tomka said.

Japan said it would abide by the ruling but added it “regrets and is deeply disappointed by the decision”.  Norway and Iceland continue to engage in commercial whaling in violation of the moratorium.

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7 Responses to International Court of Justice Ends Japanese Antarctic Whaling

  1. Diego says:

    I hope this really does mark the end of Japanese whaling and it’s the beginning of the end for commercial whaling in Norway and Iceland.

  2. And of course Paul Watson is claiming victory when it was the lawyers who finally did the job.

  3. Actually if I could reword that I would just say “Congratulations to the lawyers who patiently and non-destructively brought about this conclusion”.

  4. Rick Spilman says:

    Of course, Paul Watson is a reality TV show clown who accomplished nothing beyond self aggrandizement. So, naturally he is claiming credit that he doesn’t deserve.

  5. Hi,
    I think that Paul Watson did bring some attention to this. I think almost all people have their ego in this kind of stuff, but from watching some of the Paul Watson movies about chasing the Japanese whaling fleet I know more than I would have otherwise about it.

    And sure its “for TV” and there is a line there somewhere. But he did probably more good than a bunch of “survivor” movies.

    Otherwise I don’t follow much of what he does.

  6. Rick Spilman says:

    The problem that I have with Paul Watson is that he is a violent thug. He was booted out of Greenpeace for his fondness for violence. The Sea Shepherds practice a crude and clumsy sort of vigilante violence that in the end accomplishes nothing. Violence is simply wrong and it is not effective. Diplomatic documents released by Wiki-leaks suggests that the Sea Shepherd actions hardened the Japanese position and made efforts to shut down whaling more difficult. Watson’s reality TV show may have attracted ratings but hurt diplomacy to actually end whaling. We posted about it in 2011 — Sea Shepherds Hurt Efforts to Reduce Whaling – WikiLeaks.

    The lawsuit that ended Japanese whaling was originally filed in 2004 by the government of Australia. Working through the courts and using diplomacy is slow and difficult but it can get results unlike the efforts of a buffoonish thug with lots of braid on his phony captain’s hat.