PORTOROZ, SLOVENIA – Japan told an International Whaling Commission meeting Wednesday that it will resume its so-called research whaling in the Antarctic next fiscal year, while vowing to improve the transparency of the activities over which it lost an international court case earlier this year.
After the International Court of Justice ordered in March that the whaling be halted, ruling it was not for scientific research purposes as claimed by Tokyo, Japan canceled its annual Antarctic whaling voyage for fiscal 2014.
During the meeting in Slovenia, a Japanese official said the ICJ ruling did not deny research whaling in itself and Japan will propose a new whaling plan by taking heed of what the ICJ said in the ruling. Japan also said it will continue its “research whaling” in the Northwestern Pacific, which is not covered by the ICJ order, on a reduced scale.
Japan plans to compile a new research whaling plan by early November, which is expected to reflect the opinions of scientists inside and outside the country to ensure better transparency. But it is still likely to draw opposition from anti-whaling countries and conservationists.
The IWC members are currently discussing a draft resolution presented by New Zealand that seeks to toughen procedures for allowing research whaling. Heated discussion is expected to continue through Thursday, the last of the four-day meeting.
New Zealand and other countries opposed to whaling said that research whaling should be carried out for scientific purposes.
Following the IWC’s decision in 1982 to introduce a moratorium on commercial whaling from 1986, Japan began its “research whaling” in the Antarctic in 1987 and in the Northwestern Pacific in 1994.
Japan, which hopes to resume commercial whaling in the future, says its whaling is aimed at collecting scientific data necessary to manage whale stocks. But antiwhaling groups have condemned the activity as a cover for commercial whaling.
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