UN Orders Japan to Stop Whaling in Antarctic Waters

By Chowdhury, Sudeshna | The Christian Science Monitor, March 31, 2014 | Go to article overview

UN Orders Japan to Stop Whaling in Antarctic Waters


Chowdhury, Sudeshna, The Christian Science Monitor


As it's currently practiced, Japanese whaling in Antarctic waters isn't science, a United Nations court ruled on Monday.

The Hague-based International Court of Justice, the UN's main judicial organ, has ordered Japan to temporarily halt its whaling program in the Antarctic, ruling that whaling conducted in the name of science was actually being conducted for the purposes of selling whale meat and other commercial purposes

After commercial whaling was banned in 1986, Japan continued whaling under Japanese Whaling Research Programme under a Special Permit in the Antarctic (JARPA II), which permitted scientific whaling.

In May 2010, Australia challenged Japan's program, arguing that it was actually engaging in commercial whaling under the guise of science. The Australian government submitted an application to the ICJ that asked the Court to order Japan to "end the research programme, revoke any authorizations, permits or licences allowing the programme's activities; and provide assurances and guarantees that it will not take any further action under the JARPA II or 'any similar programme until such programme has been brought into conformity with its obligations under international law," reports the UN News Centre.

The four-year legal battle came to an end on Monday, when the Court noted that JARPA II is "not in accordance with three provisions of the Schedule to the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW)," the UN News Centre reported.

"In light of the fact that JARPA II has been going on since 2005 and has involved the killing of about 3,600 minke whales, the Court considers that the scientific output to date is limited," states the ruling.

In a 12-to-4 judgment, the Court also cited the open-ended time frame of Japan's whaling program, and Japan's lack of co-operation with other Antarctic research programs. The Court has ordered Japan to "revoke any extant authorization, permit or licence to kill, take or treat whales in relation to JARPA II, and refrain from granting any further permits" for the program.

The Japanese government has agreed to abide by the orders of the Court, but Japanese Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Noriyuki Shikata said the country "regrets and is deeply disappointed" by the ruling, the Associated Press reported. …

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