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Common Dreams

Japan's 'Research' Killing of Whales Continues

Recent ruling by international court allows Japan to continue to use loophole to kill whales.

It's 'business as usual' for Japan, which just announced it had killed 30 minke whales as part of its "scientific" whaling program. (Photo: Takver/cc/flickr)

Japanese officials announced Friday that the country had killed 30 minke whales in the northwestern Pacific as part of its stated "research" program that allows for the taking of the marine mammals.

The UN's International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled in March that Japan must halt its JARPA II Antarctic whaling program, stating that it is not for purposes of scientific research as the country had claimed.

The 30 minke whales that were killed during the April-June season, however, were caught as part of the country's North Pacific program, which was not stopped by the ICJ ruling.

Though that ruling technically only covered the Southern Ocean, the country's continuation of its "pseudo-scientific" whaling program is quite disappointing, Phil Kline, Senior Oceans Campaigner at Greenpeace, told Common Dreams.

That Japan "would go forward at all before putting together a research program that met a reasonable definition of science and isn't just cover for commercial whaling really is just extension of business as usual," Kline added, and said he expects it to be a major point of discussion at the next International Whaling Commission meeting to be held mid-September in Slovenia.

As for Prime Minster Shinzo Abe's announcement last week of his intent "for the resumption of commercial whaling by conducting whaling research in order to obtain scientific data indispensable for the management of whale resources," Kline said it was the "equivalent of a U.S. far right Tea Party-type pandering to his base."

There's something along the lines of "a core of good ole boys" that supports the scientific whaling program, Kline said, so Abe's "bold public statement" was an effort do do nothing more than pander to them.

Real plans remain to be seen at the upcoming IWC meeting, Kline continued, "where Japan will formally propose a process and timeline for its revamped scientific hunt that will satisfy ICJ ruling."


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