Japan agrees to end whaling

From the results of a case brought to Japan by Australia in 2010, Japan has now accepted the court ban on Antarctic whaling.

The case

There has been a ban on commercial whaling since 1986. However, Japan’s whale research programme, Jarpa II, allowed the killing of whales for the purposes of scientific research. Australia has been calling upon the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to outlaw the programme since 2010, as the whaling took place in their Antarctic waters. Australia brought the argument that the programme was commercial whaling in disguise.

“Australia’s views on whaling are well established. We strongly oppose all commercial whaling, including so-called ‘scientific’ whale hunting by Japan.” – Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, representing Australia in court.

The outcome

The UN’s International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ruled that the Japanese government must halt its whaling programme in the Antarctic. The court decided, by 12 votes to four, that Japan should withdraw all permits and licenses for whaling in the Antarctic and refrain from issuing any new ones. It agreed with Australia, which brought the case in May 2010, that the programme was not for scientific research as claimed by Tokyo.

Japan said it would abide by the decision but added it “regrets and is deeply disappointed by the decision”, and had argued that the suit brought by Australia was an attempt to impose its cultural norms on Japan.

A spokesman for Greenpeace UK, Willie MacKenzie, welcomed the ICJ’s decision: “The myth that this hunt was in any way scientific can now be dismissed once and for all.”

WSPA’s (World Society for the Protection of Animals) reaction

“Today’s decision wasn’t about science or geography or politics. It wasn’t about Australia versus Japan. It was about the unacceptable exploitation of animals.

“Whether in international water or not, one whale hunted is one too many. Neither commercial nor scientific whaling have any place in the 21st century.

“This decision sends a clear message to governments around the world that the exploitation of animals will no longer be tolerated and animals must be protected at the highest level.

“All eyes are now on Japan to respect this decision. We congratulate the Australian government on this landmark victory for animals.” – WSPA’s Nicola Beynon

Supporting WSPA

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Read more on the court ruling



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