Japan thumbs nose at world on whaling

BLOODY BUSINESS: A mother whale and her calf are dragged on board a Japanese ship.
BLOODY BUSINESS: A mother whale and her calf are dragged on board a Japanese ship. HO

THE Australian, New Zealand and other governments have been urged to collectively do all they can diplomatically to persuade Japan to call off its latest whale hunt and to actively consider options for further legal action against Antarctic whaling.

The call by Australian Marine Conservation Society director Darren Kindleysides coincided with Tuesday's departure by the Japanese whaling fleet to Antarctic waters in defiance of international law.

"Japan must be held to account for once again illegally whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary under the pretence of scientific research," Mr Kindleysides said.

In a landmark case last year the International Court of Justice ruled Japan's scientific whaling program was a deception.

The ICJ has also criticised Japan's new whaling program, but Tokyo is attempting to extricate itself from its legal position by abandoning the court and calling for future disputes to be settled through the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

A panel of independent experts, including Australian University Professor of International Law Donald Rothwell, has concluded that Japan's new whaling program violates international law and that Australia and other countries have options to challenge Japan's actions before international courts.

Japan's Fisheries Agency says 333 minke whales will be taken on the hunt.

Topics:  environment japan whaling

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