Japan to resume commercial whaling, but not in Antarctic

Japan to resume commercial whaling, but not in Antarctic

Japan to resume commercial whaling, but not in Antarctic

Tokyo, Japan – Greenpeace condemns the Japanese Governments formal announcement today to officially withdraw from the International Whaling Commission (IWC), with the intention to resume commercial whaling in its territorial waters and exclusive economic zone (EEZ). "The government of Japan must urgently act to conserve marine ecosystems, rather than resume commercial whaling".

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. The withdrawal from the IWC may be a face-saving step to stop Japan's ambitious Antarctic hunts and scale down the scope of whaling to around the Japanese coasts.

Faced with collapsing whale stocks, the IWC agreed to a moratorium on commercial whaling from 1986, a move credited with saving several species from extinction.

Japan will leave the International Whaling Commission, which put a moratorium on commercial whaling in the 1980s.

Former Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera, who now serves as adviser to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's fisheries committee, said he supported a decision to withdraw from the IWC, in an interview with Japan's NHK television.

A group of activists animal advocates criticized this decision, Greenpeace called the announcement "insidious".

The decision was made at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday after the government decided it would be hard to resume commercial whaling while a member of the worldwide body.


Much of the whale meat in Japan ends up for sale, but most Japanese no longer eat it, according to Reuters. "There was never anything scientific about harpooning a whale, cutting it up and putting it on a plate", Burke said.

The decision does not technically impact the 2014 International Court of Justice decision banning Japan from whaling in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean, because to do so requires a nation to have membership of the IWC.

Japan's vice-minister for fisheries Masaaki Taniai said after that vote that Tokyo would be "pressed to undertake a fundamental reassessment of its position as a member of the IWC".

"As a result of modern fleet technology, overfishing in both Japanese coastal waters and high seas areas has led to the depletion of many whale species", Annesley said in a statement.

"Australia remains resolutely opposed to all forms of commercial and so-called "scientific" whaling", Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Environment Minister Melissa Price said in a statement. In total, nearly 2,000 whales have been killed in the Antarctic since 2009 under a special permit granted by the IWC for research purposes.

"The IWC has become the driving force for global whale conservation efforts in the 21st century. So they must withdraw (from the Antarctic Ocean) immediately", he said.

Japanese Fisheries Agency official and long-time IWC negotiator Hideki Moronuki said Japan would use the IWC's method to carefully determine a catch quota on the basis of science, but declined to give an estimate. Little oversight of Japan's whaling practices, Fuchs added, could "spell doom for some populations". It was not yet clear how many whales would be caught each year once Japan resumes commercial whaling, officials said. "What's most important is to have a diverse and stable food supply", he said. This seems like a win for whales, at least in the Antarctic, but similar numbers of whales have been hunted and killed around Japan and in the northwest Pacific Ocean under the same special permit since 2009.

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