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Australia to Take Japan to Court for Whaling

Australia says it will take Japan to the International Court of Justice because of Japan's whaling activities, which Tokyo says are for scientific purposes.

Australia's foreign minister, environment minister, and attorney-general announced Friday they will file papers with the ICJ next week. Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd warned earlier this year that he was considering the move if diplomatic means failed to stop Japan's hunt.

A spokesman for the Japanese Foreign Ministry called Canberra's actions "regrettable," especially since negotiations are continuing on the issue.

The International Whaling Commission imposed a moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986. Japan says its annual whale hunt is for scientific purposes, but much of the meat is sold in grocery stores and restaurants.

Earlier this year, Australia proposed ending scientific whaling as well. It submitted a proposal to the IWC saying only aboriginal communities who hunt for subsistence should be allowed to hunt whales.

The IWC holds its annual meeting in Morocco next month. Members are expected to discuss a draft proposal that would require the three nations that still hunt whales -- Japan, Norway, and Iceland -- to reduce their annual catch limits over the next decade.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.