Japan to resume research whaling by end of year at earliest


In a move that risks straining tensions with anti-whaling nations, the government plans to resume, for the first time in two years, research whaling in the Antarctic Ocean by the end of this year at the earliest, it was learned Thursday.

The government is expected to grant a special permit for research whaling to the Tokyo-based Institute of Cetacean Research, which would be in charge of the operation, as early as next week, informed sources said.

In its fiscal 2014 whale research program in the Antarctic Ocean, Japan conducted visual checks only, without hunting whales, after the International Court of Justice ordered the country in March 2014 to stop research whaling there, upholding a complaint filed by Australia.

This time, Japan plans to hunt 333 minke whales based on a program it submitted to the International Whaling Commission’s Scientific Committee following the ICJ ruling, the sources said. The number is about one-third of the limit set under the country’s past research whaling programs in the Antarctic Ocean.

In addition, Japan will expand nonlethal research that does not involve the hunting of whales, such as sampling skin tissue for DNA analysis, the sources said.

Under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, research whaling is possible if a special permit is granted by a national government. But Tokyo’s plan to resume research whaling could spark criticism from anti-whaling nations.

The international convention’s Article VIII stipulates, “Any contracting government may grant to any of its nationals a special permit authorizing that national to kill, take and treat whales for purposes of scientific research” subject to certain restrictions.

Japan launched research whaling in the Antarctic Ocean in 1987 and then in the northwestern Pacific in 1994.

But with tensions between Japan and the anti-whaling camp escalating, Australia sued the country at the ICJ in The Hague, the Netherlands, in 2010, demanding a halt to its research whaling in the Antarctic Ocean.

After the ICJ ruling, Japan decided not to take part in principle in trials at the court over international disputes concerning whaling.

  • Liars N. Fools

    I think we need air quotes and written quotation marks whenever we discuss “research whaling” — a classic Japanese euphemism.

  • alain

    Sad news. Japan: how to be soooo gankona!

  • Carlos Mazal

    Excellent news. Even the greedy fund raising NGOs should be pleased to shore up their coffers. If there is abundancy, whaling is a right just as it is for any other country to sustainably use living marine resources. O any other resources such as beef or fish. Nobody has the right to impose their view, however emotional they may be, on others due to their cultural differences. Diversity should be respected.

  • Erma

    The insistance and enthusiasm for going out to kill these animals is downright pathetic. What a pig-headed people are clinging to this antiquated, cruel thing and try to defend it with lies about their motivation.

  • malka

    the only justifiable research needs to be done on the Japanese who feel the need to kill and capture whales and dolphins!

  • disqus_vBekJrf7g5

    Ah, yes, Japanese ‘culture’. Why is it so important to preserve this aspect of (alleged) Japanese culture? It does nothing to help Japan’s international brand image, which with the Olympics and Rugby World Cup coming up (not to mention Abe’s frantic globe-trotting to drum up support for ‘rule-of-law Japan’ in it’s disputes with China). After all, the Japanese could have taken a stand over other cultural practices; writing with brushes, wearing kimono or top-knots, squat toilets, futons, rejecting cars, electricity, glass windows, blue jeans and sneakers, and rejecting western business clothes. But they didn’t protect any of those aspects of their ‘culture’. Why not?
    Money! The Japanese sold out their own culture for convenience and profit, and the only reason whaling continues is because someone is making a profit.
    And we know who that is; it’s the people in charge of pushing whaling as a ‘Japanese tradition’ that can’t be stopped, because they get paid lots of taxpayers cash to do so.
    Whaling is effectively Japan’s big, petulant, childish ‘up yours!’ to the world, and until the world recognizes that, and punishes Japan the way any naughty immature child is punished, nothing will change.
    I want to see Australia link the Japanese bid for submarines to the whaling issue- I bet J-Inc. will get more profit from winning the submarine contract than the pork that comes out in subsidies to the whaling fleet.

  • Gene Dillman

    One important piece that the writer has failed to emphasize is that the ICJ in the Hague has ruled that Japan’s Scientific Research program is completely bogus and will not be allowed by international law. The restructuring of this program has also been rejected. Japan has no legs to stand on this. If it goes ahead with this it will be poaching. It is tantamount to piracy!

  • TLinTX

    “The international convention’s Article VIII stipulates, “Any contracting
    government may grant to any of its nationals a special permit
    authorizing that national to kill, take and treat whales for purposes of
    scientific research” subject to certain restrictions.”

    The only “restrictions” that Article VIII refers to are restrictions imposed by the “Contracting Government”. In this case, Japan.

    Here is the entirety of Article VIII 1.

    “Notwithstanding anything contained in this Convention any Contracting Government may grant to any of its nationals a special permit authorizing that national to kill, take and treat whales for purposes of scientific research subject to such restrictions as to number and subject to such other conditions as the Contracting Government thinks fit, and the killing, taking, and treating of whales in accordance with the provisions of this Article shall be exempt from the operation of this Convention. Each Contracting Government shall report at once to the Commission all such authorizations which it has granted. Each Contracting Government may at any time revoke any such special permit which it has granted.”

    Please note the first line:
    “Notwithstanding anything contained in this Convention…”

    That means that NOTHING else in the Convention supersedes this Article.
    This includes the much touted “moratorium” as well as the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

  • Woo11

    this is horrible news!