WASHINGTON – Participants in a global wildlife conservation meeting in Chile turned down Japan’s proposal for bans on the international trade in minke and Bryde’s whales to be lifted, Japanese and U.S. officials said Friday.
The rejection of the proposal came at a committee meeting of the conference of the signatory countries to the Washington Treaty, which began Sunday in Santiago for a 13-day run.
At the meeting, Japan called for international bans to be lifted on commercial trading in minke whales caught in the Northern Hemisphere and Bryde’s whales caught in the North Pacific.
The United States welcomed the rejection of the Japanese proposals.
“We are gratified that other nations agreed with our position and voted to reject the proposal,” U.S. Assistant Secretary of State John Turner said in a statement.
“Currently there is no agreed-upon plan to regulate and enforce commercial whaling,” he said.
Similar proposals were rejected at the conference of the signatory countries to the Washington Treaty in Nairobi in 2000.
Although the proposals were turned down at the committee meeting, Japan can revise the proposals and put them to a vote at a plenary session of the conference.
According to the officials, Japan said it does not consider minke and Bryde’s whales endangered species and said lifting the commercial bans will not affect their numbers, given monitoring systems are established.
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