News / Asia

Japan Defends Whaling 'Research' Before World Court

Japanese delegation from left: Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Koji Tsuruoka, Ambassador of Japan to the Netherlands Yasumasa Nagamine and Alain Pellet, professor of Paris Ouest University at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, June 26, 2013.
Japanese delegation from left: Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Koji Tsuruoka, Ambassador of Japan to the Netherlands Yasumasa Nagamine and Alain Pellet, professor of Paris Ouest University at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, June 26, 2013.
Lisa Bryant
In its first appearance before the Hague-based International Court of Justice, Japan rebutted Australia's accusations that its annual whale hunts around Antarctica amount to commercial whaling, and not research. The bitter legal dispute may have long-term implications.

Setting out his case in English and French, Japan's Deputy Foreign Minister Koji Tsuruoka argued Tokyo's annual hunt for minke and fin whales in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica is purely for research purposes.  

Speaking Tuesday before the United Nations' highest court, he said Japan strictly abides by international law, and its research findings help the scientific community.

"Japan is conducting a comprehensive scientific research program because Japan wishes to resume commercial whaling based on science in a sustainable manner," Tsuruoka said.

Without that research, Japan says, it will not have scientific grounds to prove commercial whaling can eventually be resumed around Antarctica, where a moratorium has been in place for nearly three decades.

Australia wants the court to turn the Antarctica whaling moratorium into a permanent ban.  Arguing the case last week, Australian lawyer James Crawford claimed Japan's use of a special research provision is commercial whaling in disguise.

"Under the two programs, Japan has killed more than 10,000 whales purportedly on the pursuit of information that is not required for the effective conservation and management of whale stocks in the Southern Ocean or for any other identified scientific purpose," he said.

Whale meat is considered a delicacy in Japan. But widescale whaling by a number of countries in the past has decimated whale species in many areas, including around Antarctica. 

Greenpeace Oceans Campaigner John Frizell backs Australia's arguments.

"The whale populations in the Antarctic have suffered tremendously from commercial whaling," he said. "Most of the populations are heavily depleted.  Whales are long living, up to 100 years.  They need long-term protection in order to recover."

Australia banned its own whaling in 1979, setting the country on the path of protecting whales.  Its case at the International Court of Justice is being supported by New Zealand.

But Japan's Tsuruoka argues Australia is trying to impose its beliefs on others and to change the framework of the International Whaling Commission.

"Australia has a sovereign right to decide its position," he said. "But Australia cannot impose its will on other nations, nor change the IWC to an organization opposed to whaling."

The court is not expected to rule for several months.  Its judgement on the legality of Japan's annual whale hunt is expected to be final and binding.

You May Like

Australia Knights Prince Philip, Sparking National Outrage

Abbott's surprise reintroduction of knights and dames in the country's honors system last year drew criticism that he was out of touch with national sentiment More

SAG Award Boosts 'Birdman' Oscar Hopes

Individual acting Oscars appear to be sewn up: SAG awards went to artists who won Golden Globes: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons More

Katy Perry Lights Way for Super Bowl's Girl Power Moment

Pop star's selection to headline US football championship's halftime show extends NFL's trend of selecting artists who appeal to younger viewers More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Oceanic Flight from: Ross Ice Shelf
July 03, 2013 12:00 PM
I have so thoroughly enjoyed all the important research documents and scientific discoveries stemming from Japan's multi-decade research in the southern oceans. Such culinary research is vital to all Japanese.

In Response

by: Samurai from: Japan
July 03, 2013 11:34 PM
To Chan Sing, you must learn that Japanese scientific data help other nations continue fishery in a decent manner unlike Chinese who greedily catch as much as fish only for their profit. Chinese have no common sense and never respect ethics and laws.

In Response

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
July 03, 2013 10:01 PM
To Chan Sing, It is disappointing that you sound like extremist.

In Response

by: Chan Sing from: USA
July 03, 2013 2:41 PM
You missed one: Japan also have whale meat for their dogs! Does that need more research? "Stop ?" because of outcry. Japan is strange nation common sense would not work; they need to be conquered and forced to accept like the WWII. Pitty!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sidesi
X
June Soh
January 23, 2015 10:03 PM
The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid