Australia opposes Japan's plan to resume commercial whaling

Japan could quit the International Whaling Commission

In September, Japan tabled a motion at the IWC to resume sustainable commercial whaling of species which are not endangered, but was voted down 41-27 other members. However, he was concerned about the reactions of Europe and the United States, saying: "The global opinion against whaling will not change even after we leave".

If withdrawing, Japan has to notify IWC by January 1, according to Kyodo News.

"Yet many critics view this use of the exception as a fig leaf, exploited by Japan's Fisheries Agency to cover for the practice of reportedly selling whale meat commercially".

If these reports are true, Australians can celebrate the end of whaling in our Southern Oceans, however the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) is alarmed at the potential consequences of unregulated whaling by Japan elsewhere, and concerned for the future of the IWC. Following the ballot, Japan's IWC commissioner Joji Morishita said differences with anti-whaling nations were "very clear" and Japan would plan its "next steps". This made it even more hard for Japan to continue catching whales during the 2019 fiscal year and beyond. Earlier this year, Japan tried to persuade the commission to drop its ban on commercial whaling.

In a statement he noted first, "They (Japan) have continued commercial whaling despite the International Court of Justice ruling that there is no legal justification for their so-called 'scientific whaling.' Now there can be no façade, Japan has joined Norway and Iceland in their open defiance of international conservation law".

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"The most effective way to keep pressure on Japan and remain in dialogue is for Japan to retain its seat at the IWC".

Japanese officials have said the whaling organization is supposed to pursue sustainability but has become an anti-whaling body. "Greenpeace condemns the Japan government's decision", the NGO tweeted.

Anti-whaling nations and conservationists locked horns with whaling pros over Japan's proposal to end the 32-year-old moratorium on commercial whale hunting, and finally the proposal was voted down. At a House of Representatives plenary session on October 29, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared, "We'll explore all possible measures to resume commercial whaling as early as possible".

The Foreign Ministry fears that the issue could worsen Japan's ties with Australia, Britain and other countries that are Japan's "quasi-allies" but are also anti-whaling countries.

As a signatory to the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, Japan now conducts its research whaling under the framework of the IWC.

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