Japan flouts international legal process to keep on whaling
Japanese whaling ships have this morning departed for the Antarctic hunt, the first in the Antarctic since the 2014 ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) which found that Japan’s previous whaling programme was not for “purposes of scientific research”.
This will be first hunt to be conducted under a revised but highly criticised whaling programme, NewRepA. Japan’s latest proposal is to kill up to 333 minke whales per year until 2027. It includes some limited effort to conduct non-lethal research but the core of the programme has been devised to be based on lethal ‘sampling’.
While representing a smaller catch limit than under its previous whaling programme, the catch quota is still higher than the actual number of whales killed in recent years; from 2010-14, 103 to 266 Antarctic minke whales were killed per year.
Although Japan has claimed the sample size has a scientific basis, it is clearly motivated by a desire to maintain the commercial supply of whale meat products to its domestic market.