Japan denies whaling plans for next year

AFP-JIJI

Japan on Monday insisted it has made no decision on whether to resume whaling in the Southern Ocean next year, after a militant environmental group said Tokyo intends to evade an international court ruling.

Earlier this month Tokyo said it was “deeply disappointed” that the International Court of Justice, the U.N.’s top court, declared its annual Antarctic whaling hunt as a commercial activity disguised as science. It then called off the 2014-15 hunt.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society said over the weekend that Japan was redesigning its program to circumvent the ruling.

The Institute of Cetacean Research has filed court briefs in the United States stating it intends to return to hunt whales in the Southern Ocean for the 2015-16 season with a newly designed “research” program and will seek a permanent injunction against Sea Shepherd USA, the group said.

The filing was made despite the fact that Sea Shepherd USA is no longer operating in the Southern Ocean, the group said.

The ICR refused Monday to comment on the report, while an official at the Fisheries Agency said “there has been no decision yet” on what to do in the 2015-16 season and beyond.