[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific
Australia acts over Japan whaling
Officials in Tokyo say Canberra has launched legal moves to halt annual whale hunts.
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2010 05:06 GMT
An IWC meeting is to be held in June to discuss deals that would allow hunts under strict quotas [Reuters]

Australia has launched legal case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague in an effort to halt Japanese whaling in the seas off Antarctica, officials in Tokyo have said.

Hirofumi Hirano, Japan's top government spokesman said on Tuesday that the move was "extremely regrettable".

Australia has long protested against Japan's annual whaling expeditions in Antarctic waters, and has in recent months hardened its stance announcing last week that it would present its case at the ICJ.

"We want to see an end to whales being killed in the name of science in the Southern Ocean," Peter Garrett, the environment minister, said last week.

He vowed "to bring a permanent end to whaling in the Southern Ocean".

Scientific research

Japan gets around an international ban on commercial whaling by arguing that it harpoons hundreds of whales each year for scientific research.

Whale meat is sold in Japan, which claims it conducts hunts for research purposes [EPA]

The Australian legal action comes ahead of an annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission in Morocco on June 21, which will discuss a compromise proposal to end years of division among its pro- and anti-whaling members.

The plan would allow Japan - as well as Iceland and Norway, which kill whales in defiance of a 25-year-old moratorium - to hunt the mammals openly if they agree to reduce their catch "significantly" over 10 years.

Australia has criticised the deal, under which Japan's Antarctic catch would go down to 410 whales next season - from about 500 this year - and then 205 in the 2015-2016 season.

Last year, a panel of lawyers and conservationists reported to the Australian and New Zealand governments that Japanese whaling in the Antarctic could be stopped if Japan was held accountable for dumping waste and for undertaking hazardous refuelling at sea.

The panel said the activity violates the 46-member Antarctic Treaty System, to which Japan belongs.

New Zealand has also said it will decide in the coming weeks whether to abandon diplomatic efforts and also file a case in the International Court of Justice against Japan.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Colleagues of detained Al Jazeera journalists press demands for their release, 100 days after their arrest in Egypt.
Mehdi Hasan discusses online freedoms and the potential of the web with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
A tight race seems likely as 814 million voters elect leaders in world's largest democracy next week.
Featured
Since independence, Zimbabwe has faced food shortages, hyperinflation - and several political crises.
After a sit-in protest at Poland's parliament, lawmakers are set to raise government aid to carers of disabled youth.
A vocal minority in Ukraine's east wants to join Russia, and Kiev has so far been unable to put down the separatists.
Iran's government has shifted its take on 'brain drain' but is the change enough to reverse the flow?
Deadly attacks on anti-mining activists in the Philippines part of a global trend, according to new report.
join our mailing list