Today is a big day for activists around the world celebrating the lawsuit that will end the so called “scientific whaling” in Japan.
AUSTRALIA has won an international lawsuit against Japan’s Southern Ocean whaling program and the International Court of Justice has ordered Tokyo to cease the killing immediately.
Although this does not mean that whaling will stop completely but it is a big step in the right direction.
Whaling in Japan, in the sense of non-industrial whale hunting, began in the 12th century, but Japanese whaling in the modern sense began in the 1890s when Japan began to participate in the modern whaling industry, at that time an industry in which many people from many countries participated. Like other countries that participated in whaling in the past, modern Japanese whaling activities have usually extended outside Japanese territorial waters.
Photo above: A whale and calf being loaded aboard a factory ship, the Nisshin Maru. The sign above the slipway reads, “Legal research under the ICRW”. Australia released this photo to challenge that claim. Image Credit: Wikipedia
During the 20th century, Japan was heavily involved in commercial whaling until the International Whaling Commission (IWC) moratorium on commercial whaling went into effect in 1986. Japan continued to hunt whales using the scientific research provision in the agreement, and Japanese whaling is currently conducted by the Institute of Cetacean Research. The meat from these scientific whale hunts is then sold in shops and restaurants. This is allowed under IWC rules, although most IWC members oppose it.
The International Court of Justice has ruled that the Japanese whaling program in the Southern Ocean is not for scientific purposes and has ordered that Japanese whaling in Antarctic waters to cease forthwith.
These hunts are a source of conflict between pro- and anti-whaling countries and organizations. Nations, scientists and environmental organizations opposed to whaling consider the Japanese research program to be unnecessary at best and a thinly disguised commercial whaling operation at worst.
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